Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:03
School Board backs cooperative team with neighboring district
The Northern Ozaukee School Board on Monday agreed to apply to form a cooperative cross-country team with Random Lake High School.
Ozaukee and Random Lake are members of the Central Lakeshore Conference, although a state reorganization of athletic conferences could change that this fall.
District officials noted that participation in the fall sport has declined in recent years. For the coming season, only one boy and two girls are expected to go out for the sport.
“Rather than continue to have student-athletes train individually and compete unattached at meets, we made a determination that looking at a cooperative agreement with Random Lake would be a better solution for our students athletes who wish to compete,” Supt. Blake Peuse said in a memo on the request.
The WIAA must approve applications for cooperative teams by Feb. 3 so they can be included in fall athletic schedules.
The district will provide a van to take team members to and from practices at Random Lake. Officials said that expense could be offset by no longer having to employee a cross country coach.
Board member Steven Burmesch, who said he competed in cross country during high school, was disappointed that local runners are being forced to be part of a cooperative.
“I think they are going to be losing their identity if they go to Random Lake and become Rams,” Burmesch said.
“It is kind of frustrating that we have over 200 students but can’t come up with five runners to make up a team.”
Peuse said the needs of the students should be given top priority.
“Being part of a team will allow our runners to learn about pacing and how to run as part of a pack. That is something that is needed to get them to that next level,” he said.
“We would love to be able to field our own team, but there are hundreds of co-op teams across the state. This will be giving our students the opportunity to keep competing in something they love.”
The cooperative agreement, if approved by the WIAA, must be renewed annually.