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Local

Sixth-grade athletics approved for Logan students

Logan Junior High School's Andrew Peacock (right) goes after the ball against Streator Northlawn in eighth-grade basketball action at Pannebaker Gym in Princeton this past season. Sixth-graders will now be able to compete in boys basketball and wrestling, girls basketball and volleyball, and girls and boys cross country, as approved Monday by the Princeton Elementary School Board.
Logan Junior High School's Andrew Peacock (right) goes after the ball against Streator Northlawn in eighth-grade basketball action at Pannebaker Gym in Princeton this past season. Sixth-graders will now be able to compete in boys basketball and wrestling, girls basketball and volleyball, and girls and boys cross country, as approved Monday by the Princeton Elementary School Board.

PRINCETON — Sixth-grade athletics will now be offered at Logan Junior High School.

The Princeton Elementary School Board on Monday unanimously approved adding sixth-grade teams for girls basketball, girls volleyball, boys basketball, boys wrestling, and girls and boys cross country.

Zach Smith, Logan Junior High’s assistant principal, proposed the plan to the board.

In a letter he sent to board members reviewing the plan, he stated, “These programs teach our students the crucial concept of working together to achieve a common goal, as well as developing essential character attributes along the way.”

Adding sixth-grade sports was an idea brought up during the February school board meeting. Providing separate teams for sixth-grade students will eliminate the need for a cut policy among sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade athletes.

The total cost to implement the sixth-grade programs is estimated to be around $3,300. Smith estimates the cost for new needed jerseys for girls and boys basketball and girls volleyball will be around $1,500. He said there is no need to purchase cross country and wrestling uniforms. Cross country students will be able to utilize what the district already owns, and wrestling uniforms are purchased through a separate wrestling fund.

The cost for officials will be around $1,440. The cost of scorekeepers and ticket takers is expected to be around $360.

As far as coaches, Smith said cross country and boys wrestling will not require additional coaches, as those student athletes would practice with the current program. He added those sixth-grade participants would be able to participate in the IESA post-season competitions.

One coach for each of the girls basketball, boys basketball and girls volleyball teams will be needed. Smith said the first year, the district plans to start slow and schedule conference games with other schools, resulting in about seven contests for each sport. He said the proposal for the stipend for each coach would be a percentage of the current head coaching stipend based on the length of the season.

“For example, if the sixth-grade season was two-thirds the duration of the seventh- and eighth-grade season, the sixth-grade coach would receive two-thirds of the stipend that is allocated to the seventh- and eighth-grade head coaches,” he said.

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