PT, Chimacum continue plan to combine sports programs

Posted 6/16/21

If local students have their way, they will be dragon a mascot on the field next year.

The Chimacum and Port Townsend school boards have both agreed to meld their sports teams together in the …

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PT, Chimacum continue plan to combine sports programs

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If local students have their way, they will be dragon a mascot on the field next year.

The Chimacum and Port Townsend school boards have both agreed to meld their sports teams together in the coming year.

The sports combine would be a repeat of what happened this year, as the Red Hawks and the Cowboys partnered their athletic programs after the COVID-19 pandemic left schools in the state with delayed and shortened sports seasons.

The Port Townsend School Board agreed at its last meeting to work out the details of an cooperative agreement with Chimacum that would see the Port Townsend High School and Chimacum Junior/Senior High School share coaches, venues, officiating costs, uniforms — and even a mascot.

The Chimacum School Board also unanimously approved of moving forward with the combine at its last meeting.

Chimacum Athletic Director Carrie Beebe told the board that joining programs was supported by students, coaches and parents.

Beebe detailed the participation in this year’s COVID-collapsed sports program to the school board. 

Chimacum had 74 athletes this year, and 40 of them played more than one sports. The number represents 33 percent of the student body population, she added.

“Through COVID, I think that’s a really great number,” Beebe said.

Nearly twice as many students from both schools took the recent survey.

A total of 144 students — 113 of them athletes — from Port Townsend and Chimacum participated in the poll. When asked about combining the teams of rivals, 52.7 percent wanted to continue with the combine.

A total 14.3 percent answered “don’t care,” while 22.3 percent said “no.”

“Not sure why they said no; that wasn’t a question on our survey,” Beebe told the school board.

The survey also found broad agreement on what the team should be called, as well as a mascot.

Most of the students surveyed wanted to be called East Jefferson; 13.4 percent said PT-Chimacum.

And on a potential sports mascot, 21 percent were in favor of Dragons.

Cowhawks was second, with 18 percent, followed by Rivals (14 percent) and Jaguars (7 percent)

Eighteen coaches took the survey, and all of them wanted combined teams.

Coaches saw a lot to gain from the combine.

The positives included having enough players to form varsity and junior varsity teams, and also noted it would be cost effective. Coaches said it would also make their teams more competitive, as well as account for injuries that sideline players. 

It would also help link the communities, Beebe said, “which seemed to be a big theme.”

There were also suggestions on how to improve the combine, including  alternating gyms for practice, like the basketball teams did this season.

Coaches also wanted more assistant coaches for track and field, and improvements on transportation to practice for athletes.

Community input came from 45 people who participated. Most - 62 percent - did not have children in sports.

All told, 4 percent — three respondents — said the combine didn’t work this year. A total of 10 percent said the combine shouldn’t be used again.

Representatives from both districts will continue to hammer out a “memorandum of understanding,” or MOU, for the combine.

The agreement will cover how much coaches will be paid, ticket sales and admission prices, the locations for home games and practices for each sport, cheerleaders and band, varsity letters and awards, how to deal with parent complaints, and other issues critical to high school sports.

But the agreement won’t finalize the team colors or the mascot for the combine — those decisions will come later.

While the two districts have been talking about extending the combine for months, both school boards were asked at their last meetings for the initial OK to continue the combine arrangement for another year.

Beebe said the MOU was currently a work in progress.

“We’re tightening it up. What we really need from the boards are just an agreement, that yes, we do want to combine,” Beebe told the Chimacum board at its May 26 meeting.

“It’s really important that we take the first step there,” explained Chimacum Acting Superintendent David Engle.

Chimacum School Board Director Mike Aman supported putting the two school district’s sports programs together.

“The idea of merging for sports I think is a great idea. It will help kids be able to just do better athletically,” Aman said. “We will do sports better.”

A final version will come back to both school boards in the future for approval.

The combine is expected to officially start Aug. 1 and run through July 31, 2022. 

The agreement is expected to be reviewed again in the spring of each year to determine if revisions are needed.

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