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Bolton, Warrensburg revive talks of combining sports

BOLTON - The concept of combining Warrensburg High School's sports programs with Bolton's is now receiving new attention as talks are under way involving the two schools' administrators over the proposal.

Warrensburg High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Steve Nolan reiterated the advantages of combining interscholastic fall sports with Bolton Central at the Jan. 10 Warrensburg Central school board meeting.

Nolan told the board that a number of smaller rural school districts have successfully combined their sports programs in light of shrinking enrollment and declining participation.

He suggested that the board give the concept serious consideration for merging fall sports - particularly volleyball and soccer - instead of eliminating the programs entirely, due to inability to field a competitive team.

While Nolan has explored the idea of merging soccer, volleyball and football programs, he mentioned concerns to the board that such a joint football program would bump the combined team from Class D into the more-competitive Class C. The others would remain unaffected.

Girls volleyball, which at Warrensburg has been suffering from declining enrollment, has been defeated in all but a few games over the last several years.

Soccer also has struggled to remain competitive.

After much discussion last spring on potential volleyball merger - following a call to eliminate the team - a decision was made to continue with a stand-alone program.

Nolan repeated his observations to the board that it was difficult to recruit enough students from Warrensburg to field a team, but merging with Bolton would provide more athletic opportunities for students while making a joint team competitive.

Also, by combining sports programs with Bolton, the two schools could have an all-girls soccer team and an all-boys soccer team - while other teams could be gender inclusive, he said.

Nolan and others noted the accompanying drawbacks - the combined team would have a new name, uniforms, and overall identity, which might seem as a setback to community pride. Bolton has a lot of pride invested in their mascot, the Eagles, as does Warrensburg, with the long-standing term, the Burghers, sports fans have noted.

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