The Pender School Board unanimously approved Superintendent Jason Dolliver’s proposal to Emerson-Hubbard to co-op in some sports the next two years at Wednesday’s Special Meeting. Dolliver says the two new sports would be Cross Country and Wrestling. “In the fall, Cross Country, Boys and Girls. Girls Golf in the fall. In the winter it would be Wrestling. And then in the Spring…Track, Baseball, and Boys Golf. On the Junior High side it would be Football and Wrestling.”
Dolliver says Pender has to hear back from Emerson-Hubbard Superintendent Lindsey Burback regarding this proposal before a co-op in those sports would go into effect.
The co-op does not include Girls Basketball and Volleyball. Dolliver says participation numbers would be too high to co-op in those sports. “The numbers right now in both Girls Basketball and Volleyball are strong. And as we look forward those numbers are only going to get stronger. And so when you put students from both Pender and Emerson-Hubbard together you’re really going to limit the opportunities that are available. I mentioned during the meeting for girls especially in the winter activities there’s only one option for them, and that one option there’s only 5 varsity spots available. If you look at any other season for both boys and girls there’s just a lot more opportunities. And so especially on that one putting two schools together when we already have enough numbers. They’re close to having enough. I think that they will be able to get enough. It just was something that was going to put our kids in a spot that we don’t want to take that opportunity away from our kids.”
Dolliver says 5 girls from Emerson-Hubbard who had originally opted into Pender opted back to Emerson-Hubbard, allowing the Pirates to have a projected 8 girls out for Volleyball and 5 for Girls Basketball. The numbers were lower at the time of the Town Hall Meeting on Monday, March 26th when Emerson-Hubbard was only projected to have 4 girls out for Volleyball and 2 for Girls Basketball.
Dolliver says co-oping in those two sports was not in Pender’s best interest either. “I think again it was just about one of the biggest components was classification, and classification is one of those things that matters. And a cooperative would of moved us up. We have kids who’ve worked really hard, and put a lot of time and effort into those programs. And it seemed as if our students were going to able to put their best foot forward in the current class. It’s also the hometown pride component. And people here are pretty proud of Pender and the Pendragons, and we feel like what is best for our kids is to continue to work hard and be the Pender Pendragons and move forward that way.”
Dolliver says the two schools are okay on their own right now, and Pender is expected to have a team of about 30 girls out for basketball in a couple of years, but a co-op in Volleyball could be revisited in the future.