By Melissa Klaric
Herald Staff Writer
Sharon school board members on Tuesday tackled a tough issue about merging sports programs with Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage.
The room erupted in applause when they decided to keep the tennis and golf programs intact.
In a 7-1 vote, with Pamela Corini dissenting, the board approved a final game plan that allows Kennedy students to play football on Sharon’s turf and swim in Sharon’s pool.
The board sidelined Kennedy officials’ proposal to combine the tennis and golf teams, with KCHS hosting them both. Kennedy’s proposal stemmed from declining student participation.
“For Sharon, it’s the end of the discussion,” acting Superintendent Michael Calla said. “We talked about it, we listened to the people.”
Calla added that he was going to inform Kennedy officials of the board’s decision and see what happens from there.
Pete Torr, Sharon’s athletic director, said he wished there were more time to discuss the issue.
“I’m not saying I’m against it, I see the pros and cons,” Torr said. “We needed to sit down and talk to the players, parents and coaches. They deserve it.”
The father of a Tiger golfer, Rich Wallace, said he found out about the proposed co-op on Facebook.
“I don’t think this has been well thought out,” he said. “Tennis and golf should not be the sacrificial lambs so Kennedy can play football.”
“I have some serious angst about our tennis team not wearing orange and black,” said parent Dr. David Wood. “We have enough students on the junior varsity and varsity teams and very involved parents and coaches.”
Lady Tiger tennis team players graced the front row.
“I’m proud to bleed orange and black,” co-captain and sophomore Jacqueline Bradshaw said. “A (combined) team of 40 would be bad for all of us.”
“You can’t deny there’s a rivalry and you can’t just expect these kids to merge together,” said Bradshaw’s mother Tracy. “Let’s look at the sports where we are lacking.”
After listening to the concerns of parents and students, board President Melvin Bandzak suggested that the board change the playing field.
“Private schools play by different rules,” Bandzak said.