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Montross students benched

Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Middle school athletics programs around the Northern Neck will take a hit this year losing another school on the count of finances. Joining neighboring schools of Richmond County and Essex Intermediate, officials from Montross Middle School are not planning to not send their student athletes to compete in softball, baseball and boys and girls basketball this school year.

This announcement comes after the Westmoreladn County School Board approved their 2013-2014 budget and faced an expected $1.8 million decrease in revenue for the upcoming school year.

Students from Montross Middle School will be forced to watch others play each other as financial cuts have eliminated teams from traveling this season.

Montross Middle School Principal Jane Geyer said at this point, she is looking at the situation in a positive manner that more students will be able to play sports.

“We will have more kids building skills than those on a traveling team,” Geyer said.

Geyer used the illustration of tryouts to explain how students who aren’t selected miss out playing sports in comparisons that do.

“We’ll be exposing more kids to sports,” Geyer said.

Parent Warren Holden, like many others, said he was upset when he heard the news students would not be able to travel and play sports anymore.

“That’s what Little League kids strive to get to and that’s school sports,” Holden said.

Warren, a Little League coach and fulltime medic firefighter in Fredericksburg, even encouraged the officials to meet with parents to make other arrangements.

While he admitted he would not be able to attend a school board meeting due to his schedule, he would consider joining in the discussions. Some parents Holden has spoken with said they would be interested in fundraising.

“I think there are other options out there instead of dropping a program,” Holden said.

This past spring King George Middle School organized their first baseball and softball teams to compete against teams from the Northern Neck. With the change from Montross Middle, King George principal Kevin Newman said this could have not only an impact on scheduling, but students’ growth.

“We’re scrambling to find games,” Newman said, following the announcement.

Newman, a graduate of Washington & Lee High School, played sports growing up. He went on later to play quarterback at Bridgewater College.

“I was disappointed to hear that because being from Westmoreland, playing different sports in school and knowing what it did for me, it’s kind of sad those kids won’t have that opportunity to participate in middle school athletics,” Newman said.

A proposed plan will offer students attending Montross Middle School to join an intramural program with such sports and activities as cheerleading, step, volleyball, boys and girls basketball, kickball and soccer. Programs offered will be contingent upon the students’ participation level.

Geyer said students will be offered transportation following after-school activities.

Middle school athletic programs at Colonial Beach, Lancaster and Northumberland continue this year to remain intact.