CHS beasts ready to play but lack the opportunity: due to a lack of funding and student participation

Dara Fisher and Emma Makin

While countless high school students are members of different athletic teams, a great number of them aren’t able to represent their hometowns. Whether it’s due to funding issues or a lack of student participation, student-athletes often have to find a way to participate in sports not offered at their home high schools, despite the major inconveniences that may come with this.

The difficult choice that comes up for numerous students is to learn to play a different sport or find another school or club to play for. This often results in students giving up a sport that they dedicated much of their lives to.

Many students face the challenge of not having their sport offered at Marlboro High School. Marlboro is part of the Freehold Regional District, and is the only town in the district that does not have a girls field hockey team. This is despite the fact that the two middle schools in Marlboro offer the sport.

Junior Ethan Wen of Marlboro is an avid fencer, but is unable to compete for Marlboro High School. Marlboro doesn’t offer the sport to students, even though there are students at the school who are nationally ranked.

“I wish I could play for my high school because I could compete against other schools and have teammates to practice with,” Wen said.

In certain cases, high schools move their teams and give up equipment because of funding, more room for other sports or different issues within the school.

The varsity gymnastics team at Howell High School exemplifies this, as they were forced to move their practices and competitions to Freehold Township High School. When Howell switched to a block schedule, they removed all of the gymnastics equipment and turned their gym into strictly a cafeteria.

“We were no longer able to keep our equipment up all season,” said Howell Gymnastics Coach Sara Phillips.

The Howell gymnastics team takes a bus to Freehold almost every day after school during the fall season, which cuts into their practice time as they have to be done practicing before the Freehold Township team gets out of school. Although many of the gymnasts that compete for Howell also compete for a club team, the high school practices are necessary for reasons other than obtaining new skills.

“Our practice is to make sure that routines have the necessary skills to maximize their start value, and to get the girls comfortable on our equipment,” Phillips said. Despite the conflicts in schedule and transportation, Phillips continued, “We have been very successful in the allotted time.”

For the students that have the chance to play the sport they love for their hometown, the idea of not being able to do so is inconceivable.

As field hockey player junior Kaitlin Brice of Wall put it, “Field hockey makes up a huge part of my life, and I couldn’t imagine not playing for my high school team.