One Elkhart: Go, Lions!

One Elkhart: Go, Lions!

Jamisen Halverson, Writer

Say good-bye to Mr. B and ride that mighty Charger off into the sunset.

Beginning in the season of 2020-21 sports season, Central and Memorial will join forces as Elkhart High School’s ferocious Lions.

We will be One Elkhart: one football team, one basketball team, one baseball team, one softball team—one of every team. The challenging part, however, is not being in one roof yet. There will still be two schools, but teams will be playing as one team for one more year. Thus, starting on or near July 1, teams will begin practicing together in preparation for the fall season. The process for selecting coaches for these teams will commence as each sports concludes its current season. Therefore, it will be a slow roll-out for the 20 IHSAA sports: Golf, Tennis, Cross Country, Track, Soccer, Football, Cheerleading, Volleyball, Basketball, Wrestling, Gymnastics, Swimming, Diving, Softball, and Baseball.

However, what some may not realize is that this merging has already begun to take place in a few non-IHSAA sports, such as lacrosse. Likewise, E-sports, which only got off the ground last year, has competed with both schools together since its inception.

But, what does this mean for the athletes themselves? “This merger is actually a great way for students to participate in appropriate level athletics,” insists Athletic Director Brian Buckley.  And, if Buckley is correct, even more athletes will be able to become involved. “Over the past several years,” he explained, “we have seen a decline in numbers on our sports teams due to student athletes being required to play at a level they are not prepared for.” With the merger, he forecasts that EHS will be able to field full freshman, junior varsity, and varsity teams—enabling student athletes to compete against kids that are their own age and talent level.  “The merger will also provide depth to many of our sports programs,” Buckley concluded, “which will allow us to compete at a high level.”

Elkhart Community Schools is continuing to add club teams and additional junior varsity teams as needed. “I firmly believe that this merger will afford even more opportunities for all of our students to get involved.”