SHS football backers vote for independence
FARMER’S KORNER – Roughly 50 people gathered at the Summit High School library Monday night to discuss the future of the football program, and the end result was a nearly unanimous vote to withdraw the program from the Class 3A Metro League and go independent.
The decision followed an hour-long meeting in which coaches, parents, players and athletic director Gretchen Nies discussed the various options available to the team and what direction to go based on those options.
At the core of the meeting was the distinct possibility that without a change, the program might very well dry up based on a lack of participation.
“That is the feeling of the coaching staff, myself and the high school administration,” Nies said.
The meeting was the second to be held on the subject, with the first held on Sept. 30. In that meeting, an option to bring the entire program down to a junior varsity level was struck down.
By going independent, Summit High School will be able to build a football schedule around teams which will provide for a more competitive experience for the athletes.
According to Nies, the results of the vote will be presented to the administration, who will make a final decision to be handed over to the Colorado High School Activities Association, the state’s governing body on high school sports.
“I think this is the right thing to do,” said sophomore starting quarterback Drew Arnesen, who was in attendance at the meeting and voted to go independent.
“Two years after I’m gone, Summit will be a force,” Arnesen added, noting that this is the first step in an effort to build a program from the ground up.
“This is hopefully going to be a big step,” said head coach Rob Royer.
Amid the discussion, several ideas were suggested to support the building process.
Linebacker coach Scott Fletcher suggested creating a survey to interview students and community members on how to build interest in the program.
Nies offered an idea that members of the current varsity team visit with middle school students to get the latter excited.
“I think that’s the greatest idea,” Arnesen said after the meeting.
He added that when he was in middle school, a group of high school varsity players came to visit him, and it had a profound effect on him.
“It puts a twinkle in your eye,” he said.
According to Nies, the next step will be to build a schedule for the Tigers with other independent schools, something Nies has already started.
“I’ve spent a significant amount of time on the phone talking with athletic directors and talking to coaches.”
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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