Armstrong Senior High School Principal James Rummel gave a report to the Armstrong School District Board of School Directors last night on the status of athletic teams in the District.
The Board last fall approved the start-up of three new programs, all of which Rummel said were successful.
“The Rifle Team was a winner. We had 23 students on that team. In Junior High Softball, we had 18 and Junior High Baseball, we had 29, which is quite a number to say the least. We gave 70 kids an opportunity to participate in a sport which they never would have before. So, I recommend that we continue all three sports because definitely the interest is there.”
However, Rummel said there is one sport that won’t be available next year.
“Boys tennis was on probation this past year. There just isn’t the interest in it. I actually got actively involved to try to help them recruit. I love tennis and you hate to see any program falter, but also you don’t want to have to beg kids to keep the program going. We had seven kids on the roster, which is the minimum according to our policy; however, we only averaged four kids per practice and per match. Four out of eight matches didn’t have the seven-kid-minimum, which is a full line-up. the recommendation would be to basically dissolve the boy’s tennis program because it’s generally just lack of interest.”
Rummel commended the West Shamokin baseball and volleyball teams.
“They had a District Title and a District Runner-Up in District 6, so definitely the move to the Heritage has definitely been an outstanding move for them. They’re just doing a great job over there. Their record for the three varsity sports in the Spring was 38-10. We’re really proud of their efforts.”
Rummel said the Armstrong Athletic program is also doing very well.
“Most of our teams are very competitive against the 5A level WPIAL. There is a lot of good competition there and our teams generally hold their own to say the least. We had 186 kids participate in varsity sports in the Spring alone. I think that’s very impressive. The track program alone had 100, girls and boys.
Rummel attributed the increase in students playing sports at Armstrong is because of the new facilities.
“We were going off-campus before and now the facilities are just outstanding. One time I was with Mr. Kirk up there when we had everything going on at once – it’s quite impressive when you have a baseball (game), a softball (game) and a track meet going on at the same time. Words don’t even begin to describe how happy I am to have everything on campus here.”
Rummel said that the only sports that are played off-campus are the rifle team, golf, hockey, and bowling.
“We’re also looking at additional practice field, right where you pull into our property, to the right before the baseball field. We’re going to have some land moving. We’ve been working with Rosebud and they’ve agreed to actually do the work for us. Hopefully, we’ll have some heavy equipment in there very shortly.”
Director Paul Lobby asked about use of the Ford City athletic field. Rummel said the field was no longer in use by the District.
Rummel commended the athletics coaches and staff for their commitment to the programs.
“We’ll continue to set high expectations for our programs. That starts with me and trickles down to our athletic directors, coaches, and student athletes. We can’t be complacent. We expect a lot and I think it shows. I’m very proud of where our programs are at, but there is room for improvement We’re always looking for ways to get better with that, but I think the future is very bright for Armstrong School District Athletics,” Rummel concluded.