HOWARD LAKE, WAVERLY, WINSTED, MN – A proposal to combine the football teams of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School and Watertown-Mayer High School fizzled late Monday evening, almost as quickly as it sprang up.
The HLWW School Board had a special meeting Monday to consider this proposal. At the same time, 14 miles away, board members from Watertown-Mayer were discussing the same topic.
In order for the co-op to have moved forward, both school districts would have had to vote “yes.” It would also have needed approval from the Minnesota State High School League.
This ended up not being the case, because the original proposal was not approved by the Watertown-Mayer School Board.
The original proposal called for the co-op to be a 50/50 split, with half of the home games and practices taking place at HLWW, and half at Watertown-Mayer. Athletes would wear HLWW uniforms when playing games at HLWW, and vice versa.
The extra transportation cost for busing to practices was estimated at about $2,300 for the season.
The motion passed at HLWW on a 6-1 vote, with board members Paul Bravinder, Charles Bush, Dwayne Diers, Michelle Heuer, Joanie Lasiuk, and Jamie Wiech in favor, and Lacy Detlefsen opposed.
The motion failed at Watertown-Mayer on a 3-3 vote. After more discussion, the Watertown-Mayer board members voted on a different proposal, which called for all practices and games to take place at their school. Although this motion passed at Watertown-Mayer, the co-op won’t be established this year because this arrangement was not approved by the HLWW board.
Superintendent Brad Sellner said there are no “hard feelings” on either side, and both schools will now move forward with separate teams for the upcoming football season. It is possible that the co-op idea could be revisited in the future, he added.
For now, Sellner said HLWW will be focusing on what it can do to improve its program and increase the number of students participating in football.
The idea for a co-op was initially suggested as a way to alleviate low participation numbers. HLWW Activities Director Scott Berning noted that low numbers can be a safety concern, as there aren’t enough players to switch out during games. As a result, there may be more chance for injury.
Last school year, HLWW’s football program included six seniors, seven juniors, eight sophomores, 17 freshmen, five eighth graders, and 22 seventh graders.
Watertown-Mayer’s program had 14 seniors, eight juniors, five sophomores, five freshmen, 21 eighth graders, and 26 seventh graders.
Look for more information in the sports section of the Aug. 10 edition of the Herald Journal.