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Numbers game impacts Leechburg sports

| Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008

Call it the haves and have-nots -- athletes that is.

Leechburg High School has too many girls volleyball players and too few football players.

For the volleyball players, the situation means cuts are in the offing.

The highly-successful girls volleyball program has more players than uniforms. With 39 candidates for the volleyball team and only 30 uniforms, several parents and players asked school board members Wednesday if cuts could be made. Only six players are used during a volleyball game.

The board reminded that the district allows cuts at the varsity and junior varsity level, but not always at the junior high level.

"At some time, you have to learn that you don't always make the grade," board member Terri Smith said.

"Success breeds success, and our volleyball team is a victim of its own success," Superintendent James Budzilek said.

Nine cuts will be made to the team's roster.

On the other hand, the football team has only 26 players participating out of the 124 boys at the school. With training camp injuries, only 16 healthy players were available for recent practices. The board approved a request by Athletic Director Mark Jones that the junior varsity season schedule be canceled. The high school team's starting lineup this year will be heavy with freshmen, officials said.

In other business

• The board hired James Glenn to the part-time position of attendance officer, truancy officer and transportation coordinator. The position pays $22,939 annually.

• The board also hired Stephanie Hemke as certified athletic trainer effective immediately at a salary of $30,000 per year. Budzilek praised Jones' effort to find a trainer over the last two weeks.

• A 26-member substitute teacher list was approved. Subs will be paid $85 per day, $90 after five days and $100 after 20 days.

• The board approved a request to form a golf club, with Dan Reznicki as a sponsor with the intention to attain varsity status next year. The WPIAL will permit one male and one female golfer to qualify for this season's tournament under the guidance of Reznicki.

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