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Odessa-Montour retains football, swimming   ADVERTISEMENT

Odessa-Montour retains football, swimming

ODESSA—The Odessa-Montour Central School Board voted to remove from the table a resolution which would have temporarily merged the football and fall swim teams with Watkins Glen. Superintendent Jim Frame said the sports had lower participation than in the past, so the school explored forming a pilot proposal to merge the teams for one year to see if the teams would benefit from combining. More than 100 people attended the meeting, many of whom spoke in opposition of the resolution.
A large portion of the crowd were students who all asked the board to not seek this combination of the two teams. Student Maia Rumsey said she had circulated a petition with 175 signatures against the resolution. With the petition, she urged board members to take more time in considering the effects.
“I want to do everything I can to keep our sports in Odessa,” Rumsey said.
Many crowd members expressed the feeling with the merger, they would essentially be playing on a Watkins Glen team, wearing their uniforms and losing their own identity. Many cited the fact that one of the Odessa-Montour athletes of the year, Jordan Little, is a member of the swim team, while swim coach Terri Brace was also selected as coach of the year.
Brace said despite the team’s small size, they are still fierce competitors. She also addressed the issue of shared buses by both Watkins and Odessa students, saying Odessa athletes are treated as second class citizens being allowed to ride the Watkins bus. Brace said her students are treated poorly and the current culture and rivalry between two schools would not lead to a collaborative effort.
The board listened for more than two hours as football players, swimmers, coaches and parents all made appeals to the board to not pass the resolution. The coaches and parents also congratulated the students on showing up and making a stand for their teams. One statement was repeated by several different people during the meeting, “I would rather lose at Odessa than win at Watkins.” There was not one comment made by an audience member in support of combining the teams.
The board also discussed the July 1 deadline to have the resolution approved. Many questioned its viability since the sports section had already set the schedule in March. The board decided to remove the resolution from the table until they have more time to learn about the issue and discuss its effects.




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