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The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

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Out of time

Athletic, artistic programs vie for limited number of spaces
Junior+Audrey+Sellenriek%2C+senior+Suriel+Ramos%2C+sophomore+Reese+Ransom+and+sophomore+Micah+Howard+practice+in+the+auditorium+Oct.+25.
Chloe Marrs
Junior Audrey Sellenriek, senior Suriel Ramos, sophomore Reese Ransom and sophomore Micah Howard practice in the auditorium Oct. 25.

As the winter sport season began, conflict arose due to the lack of time available to sports teams to practice in the school’s gymnasium. Athletics Director Tony Riopelle said he struggles to accommodate all of the teams’ needs.
“The coaches tell me what time they would like, what their wishes are, and I try to balance it and give them what they want best we can,” Riopelle said.
Competition cheer coach Kaitlyn Hoskins said she asks for the bare minimum of what her program should be receiving. However, those needs have not been accommodated.
“We request once a week for at least two hours and we haven’t gotten that,” Hoskins said. “I think it’s generous to only request two hours.”
One factor that goes into deciding who takes priority for gym time is sports that qualify as a Florida High School Athletic Association. This is the second season that competitive cheer-leading has been part of the FHSAA. Hoskins said despite this factor, the cheer team is not provided with a sufficient amount of practice time in the gym.
“Since we are officially a recognized winter sport, we should be receiving an equitable amount of practice time and space that we need,” Hoskins said. “I feel like asking for two hours once a week is not a lot to ask for.”
Riopelle said he cooperates with Hoskins to meet her needs.
“I ask [Hoskins] how much time she needs, and we have given her what she needs,” Riopelle said. “It’s tough when you have eight teams that need to use the gym, but there’s only five hours after school every day, so it’s very difficult to get everyone in there.”
Unlike competitive cheer-leading, dance is not an FHSAA sport. Because of this, the Purrfections take the last priority when it comes to practice facilities, according to dance coach Stephanie Shaw. She said this affects the relationship between the dance team and the other sports teams.
“The school expects us to support them, but it makes our team feel very unrecognized and very unmotivated when we are not getting the support from the school,” Shaw said.
Senior and cheer captain Jadyn Rutherford said she feels the inequity of the scheduling leads her and her teammates to feel unsupported by the other sports programs.
“People don’t take cheer seriously yet,” she said. “We just started competing last season, and we did well, but we don’t have banners in the gym or that many trophies yet,” Rutherford said. “But once people see how hard we work and they see our competition routines, then maybe they’ll start realizing.”
Despite Rutherford feeling unrecognized, varsity boys’ basketball coach Corey Burton said he respects cheer as the sport that it is.
“Both programs need to get along better,” Burton said. “I think I set a bad precedent for my teams and how we view the cheer team. We can’t view them a certain way. They are a sport, and we have to respect them as a sport.”
Burton said he finds it unfortunate that the cheer-leading program gets so little gym time; however, he said there is no time he can give the program.
“With a program like basketball, you have three programs; [middle school,] junior varsity, and varsity,” Burton said. “In a two-and-a-half-hour window, you have to break up the time between three programs. I’ve already put the middle-school team outside, which leaves two and a half hours between two teams.”
Because the middle school basketball program practices on the outside courts, Burton said the auditorium is a great opportunity for the cheer program.
“We don’t have a place like the auditorium for luxury to go practice because there’s no hoops in the auditorium, and the gym floor is a lot different,” Burton said. “It’s just different factors that go into it. I think it’s an extreme plus to have a place like the auditorium to be able to go practice in.”
However, the auditorium is not always available to the cheer program to practice in due to the scheduling conflict between the cheer program and the theater program. Theater director Caroline Miller said she feels that some programs take priority.
“Any extracurricular, whether it’s a sport or music, they should be allowed to have space to hold in our school,” Miller said. “It’s a small campus, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t deserve to have a space for their sport to be able to practice.”
Riopelle said there are various solutions to this scheduling problem, but none of the coaches have considered them.
“No one will use [the gym] before school,” Riopelle said. “Most high schools have teams that practice in the morning. Our coaches don’t want to do that, so we have a whole wasted block of time in the morning that the coaches don’t want to use.”
Burton said the easy solution to the problem is to communicate his concerns with the other coaches.
“It starts at the top,” Burton said. “Me and the cheer coach need to get along better and work things out. It’s a tough situation, but we’ve got to make it work. That’s what we do as coaches, and that’s what we do as adults.”

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About the Contributor
Chloe Marrs, Staff Writer
My name is Chloe Marrs, and I've always loved writing. I also cheer at West Shore, and this is my 4th season.