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Keene seeks answers to sports needs

Seeking a merger with ELCS, Westport

Keene baseball players merged with Westport for the past two seasons. "Beagle-ball," as it was called, was not renewed this season by the Westport Central School Board.

Keene baseball players merged with Westport for the past two seasons. "Beagle-ball," as it was called, was not renewed this season by the Westport Central School Board. Photo by John Gereau.

— With no boys varsity basketball or baseball squads, Keene Central School is looking for help.

However, no one seems willing.

At the March 20 regular meeting of the KCS board of Education, Superintendent Cynthia Ford-Johnston said she had been involved in preliminary discussions with Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School about an all-sport merger.

“We have heard nothing from them other than the initial discussion,” Johnston said. “I asked and they said that they are considering it.”

At a March 14 budget meeting in Elizabethtown, Superintendent Gail Else said that they were discussing the matter of combining sports between the schools.

Johnston said that the two-year Beagle baseball team, where Keene players joined with the Westport squad, was taken off the table at the beginning of the school year by Westport.

“I have had two interactions with them,” Johnston said. “At the beginning of the year, they told us that they would have enough for a team and that everyone was going to be Eagles. Throughout the year, they started to change a little bit and asked us if we wanted to join a few weeks ago. Fred (Hooper) spoke to the three boys who would have played, and my understanding is that they decided to do track.”

Johnston said she also had talked with Westport about combining in other sports, but, “they were not as open as we thought they would be.

“We will continue to be open to the discussion,” she said.

Alum Matt Dumas questioned the board as to how they could field a soccer team, which has a minimum requirement of 11 players, but not a baseball team, which needs nine.

“I don’t support a merger one bit,” he said. “The offering of things like track and hockey have had an impact on the numbers in the traditional sports. It has them doing their own thing instead of being part of a team and working together. You need to fix this.”

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