Kim Ladd/Lifescapes Photography
During a Sept. 2011 matchup, Warrensburg Varsity Soccer players Chris Cupp (left) and Shane Putney (right) pass the ball as a North Warren player attempts a steal. Warrensburg High School decided to shelve its soccer program for 2012 due to the resignation of a coach, not enough players to field a team, as well as budget constraints.
Faced with not enough players to field a team and the resignation of a coach, Warrensburg High School is suspending its Varsity Soccer program for at least a year.
As of this week, however, the school will be launching its first Cross-Country running team in at least 30 years.
Known for their resolute spirit and courage in the face of tough, seasoned opponents, the WCS Soccer team secured respect although their win-loss tally was annually ugly.
The WCS soccer team was also well-known regionally for hosting agile, accomplished female athletes that forced their male opponents to play their best.
The program also was acclaimed by area coaches to be inclusive — giving students of all abilities a chance to play and enjoy the sport.
WCS Varsity Coach Brian Lemery resigned from the Varsity coaching position, although he is continuing in the school system as a Special Education teacher.
When Lemery announced he was stepping down, WCS administrators and school board considered the thin potential team roster, and decided to leave the position open, said WCS Superintendent of Schools Tim Lawson.
“We’ll be reassessing the situation before the 2013-2014 school year,” he said, noting that budgetary constraints are also a factor. He said the school board was intent on cutting costs — while impacting curriculum as little as possible.
In the meantime, it looks like the new co-ed Cross-Country team may have a fair number of runners, Lawson said.
Coaching the team will be new WCS school board member Doug West plus Brian Winchell — both volunteers, Lawson added.
“A significant number of kids have already shown interest in Cross-Country,” he said. “And it’s spread across grade levels.”
In years past, students have asked the school to compete in Cross-Country, but there hasn’t been a coach available that’s experienced in the sport, he added.
In northern Warren County, Warrensburg joins North Warren and Lake George in offering the sport.
Warrensburg won’t be abandoning the idea of getting back into soccer in the future, Lawson continued.
“If there are enough bodies and we can line up a coach, we’ll put a team out there,” he said.
The shutdown of the WCS Varsity-level soccer follows a multi-year effort by Warrensburg to combine their program with Bolton Central. Although Warrensburg school board members and administrators supported the idea — along with personnel in Bolton — the Bolton school board squashed the idea.
Bolton's Boys Soccer team has been led in recent years by Francesco Roca, a soccer star in college who was named Coach of the Year regionally in 2009.
That was the year Bolton's soccer program left the Mountain & Valley Athletic Conference — in which the Varsity squad was annually among top contenders — and joined the Adirondack League, which presented a formidable new level of play.
Under Roca’s tutelage, the Varsity team fought all the way to the Section II Class D finals, setting a school record.
In succeeding years, the string of victories continued. In 2011, the boys soccer team racked up 15 wins.
Such expertise isn’t lost on Lawson.
“Considering our declining enrollment, we’ll be continuing to negotiate with Bolton on merging our soccer programs,” he said.