EAST MILLINOCKET – Schenck High School’s athletic teams will transfer to Class D this fall.
The school board voted 4-0 Tuesday night to reaffirm the Maine Principals’ Association rule requiring the Wolverines to be moved from Class C because the school’s enrollment has fallen to 216. The move becomes effective in September.
If the board had wanted to, it could have opted to petition to stay in Class C. Athletic Director Robert Marquis recommended against it.
“I haven’t heard a whole lot of comment from it, but the common word from people is, if that’s where we belong, then that’s where we belong,” he said.
The class change won’t alter the high school’s sports schedule very much, Marquis said.
Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln and Dexter High School are likely to fall off the school’s schedule, as is Central High School in Corinth, he said, but that’s about it.
The board’s vote makes this the school’s first class transfer since the mid-1980s. That change, from Class B to Class C, was very controversial, but only one of the dozen people in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting spoke on the proposed change. That person, former girls basketball coach Scott Lowell, said he wasn’t against going to Class D.
He said there were plenty of youths at the high and middle school levels who were not participating in team sports who should be encouraged by teachers, coaches and parents to do so.
Too many potentially fine athletes are in the stands when they should be competing, he said.
“We need to call kids, we need to show an interest. Sometimes that’s what it takes,” Lowell said.
Marquis agreed. He said that many youths are trending toward individualized sports such as skateboarding, or other activities, such as computer games.
In addition, too many coaches emphasize competition rather than teaching the skills needed to compete, he said.
State high school athletic regulations require schools that fall below 230 students to consider changing from C to D. Schenck is Class C in boys and girls basketball and soccer, plus baseball and softball, Marquis said. Cross country and tennis share C and D classifications.
In Maine, schools are ranked from Class A to Class D, with the largest schools in Class A, Marquis said.
Schenck’s population drop follows a statewide trend. Many schools over the past five to 10 years have changed classes.