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Winnisquam testing the waters and ice for new sports


March 31, 2010
TILTON — Students at Winnisquam Regional High School may have a few new sports to choose from as early as next year.

Hockey, lacrosse and swimming and diving are being considered as potential club sports for the school. Parents and students would be responsible for any costs associated with the new teams.

Athletic Director Jeff Cloos said that hockey, swimming/diving and lacrosse were the top ranked sports that students said they would be interested in on a survey he distributed to high school and middle school students to gauge interest.

"We saw overwhelming numbers for swimming and diving, and ice hockey, which was pretty surprising to us," Cloos said.

Based on the survey results, Cloos held informational meetings for hockey and for swimming and diving, the top two picks. He said approximately 15 students and parents showed interest in having an ice hockey team, which would likely be a cooperative team with Laconia High School. Cloos said that Laconia's hockey team has been struggling with its numbers in the past couple years and had put out feelers to see if any other local schools would be interested in creating a cooperative team. He said that the process for proposing that team to the School Board is further along than either of the other two potential teams, partly because Laconia already has an organized team.

Still, Cloos said, "It's still in the early stages."

He said the School Board has a specific procedure he needs to follow to create a team.

"If it were to happen it would be for next season," he said.

About nine students and parents turned out at the meeting for students interested in joining a swimming/diving team. Cloos said that number was much lower than the number represented on the survey; at first they were looking at a full team, but based on the number who came to the meeting, it would likely be "more of a piggybacking." For example, students would represent Winnisquam in competition but would share a coach and practices with another school's team, such as Laconia's. They would follow the same meet schedule as the team they were piggybacking.

Plans for a lacrosse team aren't quite as advanced as the other two potential teams because of a few obstacles.

"We're not ready to tackle looking into it," Cloos said.

Regardless of whether Winnisquam creates one new team or three, Cloos emphasized that there is no money in the budget to pay for any costs associated with the teams, with the exception of the $100 NHIAA fee.

"At this point we are strictly saying it would be funded as a club team," he said.

That means parents would cover the costs, and Cloos said that often happens in the form of fundraisers. The Laconia hockey team, for example, already has a booster club, and Cloos said that if Winnisquam were to join the team, parents would likely join that booster club. Some club teams are able to fundraise enough that parents don't have to pay anything, he said.

Cloos said he will continue to move forward with the process of proposing the new programs, but he stressed that none of the potential teams are a definite at this point. He said he wants to ensure that the teams would be viable before he officially proposes them to the School Board.

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