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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.

— “Would you rather not have a team then a merged team,” board president James Marlatt said.

“We only had three kids who were interested in baseball,” Johnston responded. “We cannot tell the kids what sports they play.”

“You cannot tell them, but if you did not have the track and other options, they would be more likely to play,” Dumas said.

He added that he felt students would stop playing sports if they were faced with long trips to practice with other schools.

“Will you have the kids continue to participate and go to other schools five years from now, or will they just stop playing,” Dumas asked.

Some parents backed the idea of merged teams.

“My son played during the time with the Beagles and our guys really loved the experience,” Peg Wilson said. “I was not a supporter of the merged teams, but Luke really enjoyed it and our kids were a part of a team. I think that it is too bad that Westport didn’t want to this year.”

“I was excited about the idea of a merge,” Lisa Smith said. “I had to be on the varsity soccer team in seventh grade because they would have not had enough players, and it kind of traumatized me. I think we should be for anything that gets the kids out there and meeting other people from other schools.”

“If other schools would welcome our kids, then that is a good thing,” Cindy Summo said.

Smith added that she did have one reservation to any merger.

“The only thing that I would not support from a merger would be cuts,” she said.

Johnston agreed that would be a concern with more kids trying out for a varsity sport, but the board still wanted to look at options for kids to compete in interscholastic sports.

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