NEH to begin talks on sharing sports

WEBSTER CITY – As enrollment dwindles so too does the number of athletic participants, and that has left the Northeast Hamilton school district in a precarious situation moving forward.

The NEH School Board will begin talks about the possibility of sharing programs on a sport-by-sport basis with Webster City at its monthly meeting tonight. The board will convene at 7 p.m. inside the elementary media center.

Superintendent Larry Frakes says that no decisions have been made with regards to the future of Trojan athletics, but the numbers don’t lie. A continuing downward trend has left the community to face some tough questions about the viability of certain programs.

“We’re just running out of kids to be able to participate in some of the sports we’ve had here,” Frakes said. “We’d like to have our own teams and those types of things, but when we have a limited number of kids … it’s tough.”

Frakes pointed to the fact that there are only five girls participating in basketball in grades seven and eight this season as proof of the troubles that lie ahead. He also said that the numbers for junior high football will be dangerously low next fall.

“In our junior high, for next year, we only have 10 boys in our two grades,” he said. “It comes down to what’s the magic number and that’s something we’re going to discuss.”

There are 13 players currently on the NEH girls’ basketball roster, six of which are freshmen and sophomores. The low numbers have made it difficult to play lower-level games and Frakes says that also hurts the program.

“The limited numbers in our (junior varsity) and freshman programs, those types of things hurt,” Frakes said. “It’s tough to start at a varsity level.”

NEH has informed the state that it intends to field an 8-man football team in the fall. The Trojans have been a part of the 8-man landscape since 2004; they won a state championship in 2006.

Frakes stressed that no decisions have been made, but he feels the time to begin the dialogue is now.

“This has to get out in the open just like everything else,” he said. “We’re just trying to take a look at our overall picture and see where we’re standing. Then we’ll probably talk with Webster City and (ask) could this be a possibility?”

In the past, NEH has sent athletes to Webster City for girls’ and boys’ cross country, wrestling and girls’ and boys’ soccer.