By Pat Maurer
With the approval of Athletic Director Jack Kramer, Gateway Lanes owner Jack Gross proposed that the Clare Board of Education add bowling as a varsity sport in high school this year. Approximately 20 audience members were also at Monday’s meeting to support the proposal.
“Twelve years ago,” Gross said, “bowling was beginning to become a recognized sport in high schools. We started a conference in this area three years ago with four schools. This year we have added Beaverton as a club sport, Houghton Lake (as a varsity sport). We now have seven schools involved either as a club sport or varsity sport in the conference.
Clare has been involved with the Bowling Conference developed by Jack and Julie Gross for the past three years as a “Club Sport.”
“Over half of all high schools in the country have bowling as a varsity sport,” Gross said. He introduced Rod Church and son and his son Patrick (Clare graduate) as coaching the boys. “Patrick started in our PeeWee League,” Gross said, “and this year he earned a $2,000 college scholarship from the Men’s National Bowling Organization. He also introduced girls’ team coach Joel Warner. “Two of our conference bowlers have gone to nationals from Clare this year and will be featured on posters across the country,” Gross said.
He continued, “Participation promotes better performance in school. It’s a safe, clean, alcohol and drug free sport. Opens up participation in sports for students with problems participating in other sports, and offers varsity recognition. It’s a non-contact sport, requires no maintenance, and is a life-long sport.” He said there are now 342 boys’ teams and 330 girls’ teams across the state this year.
Gross asked that the board consider adding bowling as a varsity sport this year, by the December 17 meeting. “We’re not asking any financial support, just that you recognize bowling as a varsity sport.”
Kramer also recommended that the board approve adding Middle School Volleyball to Clare’s recognized sports. “Every school in the Jack Pine [Conference] has a Middle School Volleyball program except one – Clare.” Kramer said. “If we want to move our volleyball program back where it belongs, we need the middle school program. It’s imperative to make it a part of our existing program. These girls at the Middle School need a program.”
He introduced Emily Blackburn, who said, I have been coaching freshmen [Volleyball] I am now coaching JV. Also 3-4, 5-6 grades in a Coleman program.
She introduced Shannon Zinzer who said she had 28 girls in the program, all 4th and 5th graders. She said it was very rewarding. “The community support is here for our girls, for our school.”
Blackburn said a community business person had donated $1,000 towards a Middle School program and another $1,000 from community support. “We need to be able to compete in the Jack Pine Conference. We are asking for your support,” she told the board.
Board member Carol Santini said, “So you are asking us for around $1,000 (for next year)?”
Board President Tom Weaver lauded both presentations. “I think you have done a good job of putting this together,” he said.
The board also honored and recognized the 2012 Boys’ Cross Country Team and the 2012 Girls’ Cross Country Team.
The Boys team earned their fifth straight Jack Pine Conference Title and Team Academic All-State. Hunter Nivison earned Academic All State and State qualifiers were Nivison, Lucas Combs, Brock Demo, Riley Crawford, Kyler Phillips, Ken Spicer-Torres and Chase Field.
The Girls team earned the Jack Pine Conference Title and the Regional Championship. Lindsay Winter earned Academic All-State and Victoria Harper achieved Academic All-State and All-State. State Qualifiers were Victoria Harper, Lindsay Winter, Robyn Stanley, Melissa Benchley, Sadie Phillips, Madison McPhee and Paige Gould.
Other business at the meeting Monday included:
*Education Boosters, Sports Boosters and Band Boosters reports.
*A report from administrators including Superintendent Pummell who gave a presentation of the Alumni recognition project.
*Approval to accept the 2011-12 Audit Report as presented by Derek Miller of Roslund, Prestage & Company.
*Approval of the Adult Education Handbook revisions, and of the Board Policy revisions as provided by the MASB.
*Approval of Brandy Barber as a part-time Kindergarten/Title I paraprofessional.
*Approval of bills payable totaling $223,209.49.