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NE Range to suspend varsity football, boys basketball

Lack of student numbers the primary factor; junior varsity play will continue

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 3/10/18

BABBITT— Northeast Range high school won’t be fielding varsity squads in football or boys basketball next year, due to low numbers of upperclassmen going out for those sports.

It’s been a …

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NE Range to suspend varsity football, boys basketball

Lack of student numbers the primary factor; junior varsity play will continue

Posted

BABBITT— Northeast Range high school won’t be fielding varsity squads in football or boys basketball next year, due to low numbers of upperclassmen going out for those sports.

It’s been a longstanding problem for the Northeast Range sports programs, which are feeling the effects of declining overall student enrollment and limited student interest in sports.

The Northeast Range boys basketball team, which wrapped up their regular season on Friday, had just seven players on their varsity roster, including three seniors, two freshmen, and two eighth-graders. The low player count forced the team to forfeit a couple of games during the season when illness or other factors kept some players from suiting up.

With the three seniors set to graduate, the basketball team would, in effect, be a junior high team anyway, according to Athletic Director Mark Fabish, so they’ll compete at the junior varsity level for now.

“We just won’t have the bodies in the upper two classes,” said Fabish, who described the situation as a temporary “dry spell.”

Yet the basketball program has been struggling for some time, notes Northeast Range school board representative Chris Koivisto, who worries that the loss of varsity level programs, even if temporarily, could impact enrollment. “That’s why I’ve been arguing to shore up these programs,” he said.

He noted that the school lacks lights on the football field, which keeps many parents from attending games that are, by necessity, held in the afternoon. He said the school also lacks a baseball practice field, which limits the team’s time on the field outside of actual games.

The teams also face competition from other student activities, such as hockey (which is combined with Ely) and figure skating, both of which compete for students during the winter months.

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