Wrestling a possibility for Harrison School?

Board talks potential wrestling co-op, cancels school election

The Harrison School Board met on April 9 and heard from Whitehall wrestling coach Mark Nelson about the possibility of a high school team co-op. While no decision about pursuing a co-op was made, the board asked activities director Connie Young to gauge student interest via a survey for grades 7-12.

The board began talking about a possible co-op during their March meeting, after Superintendent Fred Hofman was approached by Whitehall’s Superintendent John Sullivan. A wrestling co-op could result in students not participating in high school basketball because of the overlapping seasons and would need to be offset with another girls’ sport.

“We’re not trying to steal any kids or anything like that,” said Nelson, who has 15 wrestlers on his squad. “This would just be an opportunity for kids to come over and try it out – you don’t have to have experience to walk on our mat.” The little guy program in Whitehall also includes several junior high and elementary students from Harrison who have seen success with the program. 

Board Chair Dusty Wagner, who has children participating in little guy wrestling, said, "If a kid wants to wrestle, they’re going to,” in regard to losing potential basketball players. “I’m just one person in this and I’m not just bringing this up for my kids. If they want to wrestle, they’re going to do it, co-op or not." 

Wagner said Harrison has always pursued different avenues for students to explore.

Young agreed with the idea of offering more variety. “At all my AD meetings they are always saying the more diversified you are, the better off you’re going to be,” she said. “I’m not saying this is the answer, but I think it’s a good thing to have choices.” 

If the board decided to approve a wrestling co-op with Whitehall, Hofman informed them a girls’ sport would need to be added in order to keep numbers even. “I know Whitehall has a girls’ tennis team and I think Ennis just brought on softball, so there are options, but that’s just something we have to remember if we move forward.” 

The board will continue their discussion at their next meeting, after gauging student interest. 


Other business

After officially deciding to move to an all-mail, county run election, District Clerk Judi Ward notified the board of the election’s cancellation. “As of the end of the day April 5, the Harrison School is cancelling the election by acclamation,” Ward said. 

Only two candidates filed for two seats: Timbre Murphy for a two-year term and Mark Homner for a three-year term. Both Murphy and Homner currently serve on the board. 

Ward, who is entering her 35th year as a district clerk, was nominated by fellow Montana district clerks for the Business Official of the Year Award. If chosen, Ward will be recognized at the 50th Montana Association of School Business Officials conference this summer in Billings. 

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