Varsity, JV … freshman? Despite the large amount of students who try out for Aragon sports, football, boys basketball and girls volleyball are the only programs that can accommodate freshman teams. With issues such as space, coaching staff and funding, freshman teams continue to be a struggle to initiate and maintain over the years.
Athletic director Steve Sell emphasized that the largest problem when considering adding a freshman team is space.
“We do struggle with space,” said Sell. “We would love to have lights on the pool, and if we had more space, we might have a freshman boys soccer team because we always have a large turnout for them, too. We’re lucky enough to have two full gyms, which allows for those freshmen volleyball and basketball teams.”
The issue with accommodating freshmen teams is more permanent and expensive than being unable to find a coach or uniforms. With only one baseball and softball field, one shared field for football, soccer and lacrosse and one pool, Aragon’s two gyms have become the only space on campus not too crowded to add freshman teams.
Despite the struggles of beginning and maintaining freshman teams, they are generally positive experiences for student-athletes.
“Anything that gets a high school student involved in a co-curricular is … a great thing,” said Sell. “Especially as our student body gets bigger, we have more kids trying out for sports; it’s completely positive.”
“Despite the struggles … [freshman teams] are generally positive experiences for student-athletes.”
Getting involved in sports at Aragon begins for some with a freshman team, and often carries students through their high school years all the way to the varsity level. Although Sell notes that competing at the freshman level is likely to not be equivalent to varsity competition, the extra head start and early involvement builds skills and motivation towards continuing that sport.
Aragon also has sports that do not cut anyone from their programs, such as football, swimming, track and field and cross country. These sports are able to have no-cuts because of the field, pool and track availability during their seasons. No-cut teams are generally larger because more people are encouraged to join. As a result, these sports take up more gym time than teams that cut students, leaving even less space for initiating new freshman teams.
Aragon’s growing student population not only contributes to its large class sizes and locker shortages, but increases the amount of students trying out for sports and joining other extracurricular activities on campus. Freshman teams encourage student involvement, which is especially important for underclassmen. Getting involved early leads to further participation in sports and other activities in the future, whether it be making new friends, branching out or building school spirit.