Cloverdale gymnasts get OK to compete

Friday, November 17, 2006

Through the efforts of Cloverdale High School Principal Sonny Stoltz, two Cloverdale athletes will be able to participate in their sport this winter.

High school sophomores Brittney Hughes and Monica Hodgkiss are both gymnasts. However, the school does not have a gymnastics team.

But, Stoltz put together a proposal to present to the Cloverdale School Board to allow them to compete this winter.

At Monday's board meeting, Stoltz called for a Pilot Program for gymnastics this year in conjunction with Owen Valley High School.

He told the board there would be no cost for the school with the program and proposed it last for one year.

"I saw some advantages for the kids to excel," Stoltz told the board Monday.

He said parents approached the school last year hoping to allow the students to compete at the high school level, but there was no money for a program.

This year, however, the parents took a different approach, leading Stoltz to look for a way for the students to compete.

Through the pilot program, the two gymnasts will travel with the Owen Valley team, which will be coached by Catherine McPhee, who runs a gymnastics business in Owen County. Her daughter, Brooklyn, will coach the Cloverdale students. Stoltz said the parents just wanted the kids to compete under the Cloverdale name.

"They just want us to listen to them," he said. "All they want is some support from the school."

Stoltz told the board members Monday that the parents of Hodgkiss and Hughes will pay for all the costs.

"It's amazing what parents will do for their kids," Stoltz said.

He added the Indiana High School Athletic Association had given its blessing for the two Cloverdale athletes to compete with the Owen Valley team as Cloverdale athletes.

Stoltz reiterated the school was not planning on building a gymnastic program, because it was something the corporation could not afford.

The board voted unanimous to allow the measure.

Meanwhile, the board received updates from the middle school and high school athletic directors.

Middle School Athletic Director Dave Walton and his high school counterpart, Pat Rady, both approached the board Monday, giving updates on school fall sports teams.

Rady, who told the board he was missing the Indiana University men's basketball game against Lafayette University in Indianapolis to discuss the fall season with them, praised all high school fall sports athletes.

"It's been a privilege to watch our athletes," he said. "We're very proud of the effort they gave us."

He gave special praise to the girls' cross country team, which won the Putnam County and West Central Conference championship and advanced to regional competition for the first time in school history, in addition to praising the high school volleyball team, which won its first sectional title since 1983.

"The smiles on their faces were precious," Rady said. "We had a very good fall."

Walton told the board that numbers were up for students competing in sports at the middle school.

"I think we've got a lot of exciting things going on at the middle school," Walton told the board Monday.

Walton said he was especially proud of the "feeder" system the middle school has for all high school sports, while also giving special praise to the middle school football teams, cheerleaders and cross country teams.

"There's a lot going on," he said.

In other business, the board:

* Recognized elementary student Payton Brackin, middle school student Chelsea Leach and high school student Daina Pina as Students of the Month.

* Accepted a $1,000 donation from Martin Marietta.

* Accepted a $1,000 donation from the Mary Allison Children's Trust Fund for the elementary school.

* Unanimously approved the corporation to reinstate a town bus route.

* Unanimously approved a measure for the corporation to advertise for insurance bids.

The board meets regularly on the second Monday of each month. Its next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Dec. 11.

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