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Published: Thursday, 7/28/2011

TPS restores cross country

Some junior high sports also will be returning

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Toledo City League commissioner Ed Scrutchins Toledo City League commissioner Ed Scrutchins
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City League commissioner of athletics Ed Scrutchins confirmed Wednesday that Toledo Public Schools will restore some of the athletic programs its board decided to cut a year ago when the district was attempting to offset a budget deficit of nearly $40 million.

Returning for the upcoming 2011-12 school year will be high school varsity cross country for boys and girls, as well as a modified version of four sports at the junior high level.

Seventh and eighth grade boys and girls will now have the opportunity to compete in basketball, cross country and track, and girls will have volleyball. Junior high wrestling, part of last year's budget cuts, will not be restored this year.

"I am especially pleased we're bringing back the seventh and eighth grade situation," Scrutchins said, "because we had nothing for them last year. At least we'll have something for them now.

The modification for these sports will be made in conjunction with the new TPS educational plan that eliminated the previous junior high school format, which maintained separate campuses for seventh and eighth grade students.

The district restored its kindergarten-through-eighth grade format, which was the prevailing standard prior to the mid 1970s.

Now, instead of each junior high school having its own sports teams, like they did prior to 2010-11, there will be one team per sport offered in each of the six high school districts -- Bowsher, Rogers, Scott, Start, Waite, and Woodward.

"We couldn't afford to have [practices and games] at each individual school," Scrutchins said, "but having something at the high schools at least gives us a connection and a feeder pattern in those sports for the athletes leading to those high schools."

Athletes from the (K-8) feeder schools will participate on teams linked to their designated high school districts. All practices and competition will take place at the high school facilities, and those teams will be supervised by assistant coaches from the corresponding high school programs in each sport.

The district did not restore any high school sports at the freshman level, which were eliminated last year, and the other varsity sports that were eliminated at that time -- wrestling, golf and boys tennis -- will also not return this year.

"The new superintendent [Jerome Pecko] has been an advocate of bringing back whatever we could, and hopefully in the future we can do even more and bring back more sports," said Scrutchins, who estimated TPS likely lost "several hundred" students who transferred out of the district directly as the result of last year's board decision to eliminate a significant portion of TPS athletic programs.

Five of the six high schools will now host junior high practices and competition. In the Scott district, junior high facilities will be utilized until Scott students return to campus some time early next year.

Scott students have been relocated to the former DeVilbiss High School for the last two years while buildings on the actual Scott campus are being renovated.

Contact Steve Junga at: sjunga@theblade.com or 419-724-6461



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