Schoharie hears State of the State of Sports


By Patsy Nicosia

What’s the State of the State at Schoharie Central?
Solid, when it comes to sports—despite challenges schools are facing across the state and the aftereffects of COVID.
That’s what retiring Athletic Director Shane Barton told school board members Tuesday against a backdrop of photos highlighting some of Schoharie’s 39 teams.
Schoharie fields 18 varsity and 12 modified teams, Coach Barton said.
JV numbers go back and forth depending on interest; right now there are four teams, but sometimes there are as many as nine.
Participation also varies from year-to-year, he said; this year there were 152 fall athletes, 104 for winter sports, and 115 this spring.
One of the challenges Schoharie is facing, Coach Barton said, is the loss of the three-sport athlete, something that’s also part of a statewide trend.
Because of that, he said, there’s a push to allow sixth-graders to play on modified teams, something that could be a couple of years away.
Other challenges all schools are facing include finding coaches—there are 22 head coaches at SCS and seven volunteer coaches—and dependability and commitment—getting kids to show up for practice if they decide there’s something else they’d rather be doing on a Friday afternoon.
In a look at “life after SCS,” Coach Barton said it’s hard to play sports in college, but he was happily surprised when he ran the numbers.
Looking back just four years and including this year’s committed seniors, 18 Indians are playing on their college teams.
“Schoharie has a very competitive athletic program,” Coach Barton said. “We’re usually in the mix somewhere,” and athletes typically make an appearance on All-Star, All-State, and Scholar-Athlete teams.
Because of COVID, SCS had to put its Little Indian “feeder” program on hold for the past two years, but Coach Barton said the modified numbers are good and varsity participation should follow.
Also on hold because of COVID, but coming back: visits from a trainer at Top Form Athletic Training, Coaches vs. Cancer fundraisers, and volunteering at the Special Olympics.
Looking at the bigger picture, Coach Barton said there’s talk of WAC dissolving, with teams moving to “classification play.”
There’s also a possibility, he said, that Cobleskill-Richmondville and Johnstown could join the league, something both schools have requested.
Sports are critical for all students, Superintendent Dave Blanchard said, especially now.
“We need to make school more fun coming out of the pandemic,” he said.
There’s been discussion of offering intramurals right after school, adding a 5:30pm bus, and even bringing lifetime sports like skiing, martial arts, and even juggling into the fold.
“We have to build back all of these activities,” Mr. Blanchard said.
“We have to get kids to see the bigger picture. We’re going to have to be prepared to put some money behind this. We’re only limited by our creativity. We have to figure it out.”
“What’s the goal of sports?” Coach Barton asked and answered.
“To win where we can, but to make our students better people, prepared for life after school.”
SCS will begin interviewing candidates for athletic coordinator in the next few weeks, Mr. Blanchard said.