Written by MacKenzie Miller and Natalie Buchetto|
Is there an upside to downsizing?
If you were a Husky before the big move to Morgan 3.0, you know that the old school had numerous places for winter sports to practice. For the six teams with a winter season, there were three to four spaces for each to practice at different times on certain days.
Morgan 2.0 had two gyms, the cafeteria, the library and even the hallways were put to use sometimes. Girls Basketball would be held in Gym A while Boys Basketball was in Gym B, both right after school. Then later in the evening, wrestling would practice in Gym B. A classic memory- indoor track athletes ran and hurdled through the halls right after school was dismissed. Additionally, cheerleading practiced in the cafeteria during the week and occasionally in the library before competitions. After the cheerleaders finished in the cafe, fencing would come in and practice in the evening.
Although it cannot be argued that Morgan 3.0 is a beautiful school, many complications are arising with practice. We still have six teams to accommodate, but now we only have one practice facility which is our new and improved gym. Although this is frustrating, Principal Keri Hagness pointed out that, “Now we’re a lot like other schools where the luxury of having two separate spaces is just not there. Just like other schools we’re using other buildings in order for them [athletes] to have the space to be able to practice what they need to do.”
Not only do we have to consider our sports teams at Morgan but also the fact that Clinton Park & Rec basketball plays their games in our gym on Saturdays. As the gym is unavailable, cheerleading must practice on the stage in the auditorium. Even though it may not be ideal, the team is making it work. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hagness, Athletic Director Kevin Rayel, Superintendent Maryann O’Donnell and Director of Clinton Parks & Recreation, Robert Potter have worked diligently to provide space for all teams. The group meets once a week, every week for a few hours creating a schedule that accommodates everyone.
It is evident that there is just not enough time in one school day for all 6 teams to have their full practice times in the new Morgan gym. Therefore, certain teams have to practice in other spaces around Morgan. For example, cheerleaders practice in the auditorium, while other teams utilize spaces at other schools like Joel and Eliot.
The wrestling team has held practices at Joel where they practice on their own mats. Fencing now practices at Eliot in the cafeteria. Track stretches and warms up inside the gym. Distance runners run outside while hurdlers have been practicing in the hallways along with sprinters. Guidance counselor and Cheerleading Coach Joni Capobianco mentioned; “As a coach, it has been very frustrating, but as a staff member of the school and part of the Morgan family, it’s like fighting with your brothers and sisters because you have to share one bathroom.”
When Physical Education Instructor Peter Gersz was asked about his thoughts on the whole situation, he acknowledged the fact that it was certainly a problem for the whole district. Mr. Gersz had an idea. “If we had just an auxiliary gym that’s maybe half the size of this gym, then you could put cheerleading, wrestling, fencing and even team or group meetings to help out the problem,” said Gersz, “whether it’s a fieldhouse or an addition on one of the schools. But again, we’re talking money and space so I’m not sure that’s in the foreseeable future, but maybe someday down the line, they’ll do that.” Mr Rayel agreed that an auxiliary space could help alleviate some of the issues.
Additionally, Mrs. Hagness described the schedule creating process as “a huge puzzle and all the pieces are kind of difficult to place.” Mr. Rayel reminds everyone that this is being done “not only to better the facilities for the student-athletes at Morgan but for the students of the whole community.” Lastly, Ms. Capobianco ensures “we just have to stay positive and once we get a schedule worked out, and things are running smoothly, it’ll be easier in the years to come!”