Kearney Public Schools adds middle school soccer, seventh grade track

Kearney Public Schools is implementing their own risk dial system to track COVID-19 dangers in...
Kearney Public Schools is implementing their own risk dial system to track COVID-19 dangers in the district.(KSNB)
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 3:32 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (Press Release) - Kearney Public Schools is adding an additional sports team to its middle schools. Boys and girls soccer and seventh-grade track will become a reality at Horizon and Sunrise Middle Schools in the 2022-2023 school year.  Both seventh-and eighth-grade students will participate on the same team for soccer and track.

“There is a strong interest by our students and parents for expanded extracurricular activities in our middle schools,” said Jason Mundorf, KPS Superintendent. “Compelling evidence was provided to support the introduction of soccer and the expansion of track for our middle school athletes. We are excited that the Board wanted to offer these additional opportunities to our middle school students, and we are equally excited by the impact these opportunities will have on student engagement in the classroom and in their school experiences.”

When polled, 185 Horizon students and 204 Sunrise students said they were interested in playing soccer. There will be 40 players allowed on each of the boys’ and girls’ middle school soccer teams at each school.  Soccer is one of the fastest-growing high school sports in the nation.

Ryan Hogue, KHS Assistant Principal/Activities Director, believes that students who have not had the opportunity to be involved with athletics would have the benefit of participating in a sport that emphasizes good health and fitness principles.

“Participating in athletics and activities at all levels provides an opportunity for students to be a part of a team and learn positive character traits such as commitment, accountability, and a strong work ethic,” Hogue said. “The middle school sports eligibility policy has been proven as a motivational tool for our student-athletes offering them a better chance for success not just on the athletic field but in the classroom.  This is an exciting addition for our Sunrise and Horizon middle school students but also for the future of our Bearcat Soccer and Track programs.”

Adding soccer and adding seventh-grade to track is a financial commitment for the district. Coaches, uniforms, soccer equipment, game officials and transportation will cost approximately $34,000 the first year and $24,000 annually after.

“The benefits of starting soccer and track in the seventh grade will show up in the success of our high school teams,” said Scott Krause, Sunrise Activities Director. “The earlier we can get students on the field, the better athletes they will become.”

According to Stacy Bean, Horizon Middle School Activities Director, each middle school will have four coaches: one head coach and one assistant coach for boys’ soccer and for girls’ soccer.  The coaches are yet to be determined.

“We are confident that our coaches will instill strong work ethics both on and off the field,” Bean said.

The Horizon and Sunrise Middle School soccer teams plan to schedule contests against Grand Island and Lexington.

Students will learn more about participating in seventh- and eighth-grade soccer and track during the 2022-2023 school year.

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