By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
Starting this year, the North Laurel High School athletics department has a few new options to offer students when it comes to competitive events.
Though they are in the preliminary stages, the Jaguar name will now be associated with bass fishing, archery and swimming.
While bass fishing is some time away from beginning, swimming and archery are close to opening the seasons.
North Laurel Athletic Director Jimmy Durham said the response has been a good one, but said things are still in the organizational stages.
“We’ve hired swimming coaches to oversee the teams already, so things are moving,” he said. “We hired Amy Stenger as the head swimming coach and Kristen McCarter as her assistant.
“The first official date for a swim contest is November 15 and the teams will be capped at 20 boys and 20 girls,” he added. “Coach Stenger will be over both teams and our teams will travel to Barbourville to the Stivers Aquatic Center to practice and compete.”
Swimming is the only KHSAA sanctioned championship sport of the three, which means teams will compete for state titles much like other major sports.
As far as swimming, Durham said there are five regions in the state and the Jaguars will be grouped with the schools from Pulaski County, Madison County and the surrounding areas.
As for archery and bass fishing, Durham said much like bowling, they will be classified as KHSAA sport activities.
That means the teams are allowed to solicit sponsorships to help offset the cost of the teams as far as operational costs since none of the three sports are non-revenue sports.
“What they can do is get sponsorships to help with the costs since none of these sports are going to be revenue generating,” he said. “They can secure sponsors to go on jerseys or shirts or whatever they wear.
“As for archery, the first event was October 15, so we’re a little bit behind here in the county,” he added.
In case archers want a chance to get a jump by practicing on their own, the team will compete at 10-meter and 15-meter distances as far as structured competitions.
The coaches hired for archery are Chris Minyard as the head coach and Mike Holliday as an assistant.
The bass fishing state championship will take place the weekend of April 25-28 at Kentucky Lake. Durham said the first day a school can practice is 21 days prior to the regional tournament, which has not been set yet.
The school has a lot of work to do to get bass fishing off the ground.
In addition to securing boats to use, Durham said there had to be volunteer boat captains for each boat and they would have to be qualified to do so.
As for the students who fish, the only thing they will be allowed to do on the boat will be fish.
“The boat captain will have to operate the boat and anything else that has to be done,” Durham said. “The athletes will only be allowed to fish.
“The boats will have certain requirements such as a live well, life jackets etc.,” he added. “We’re not really finalized on what the qualifications are yet for some of that.”
Any parents or sponsors who have questions about any of the three sports can reach Durham at North Laurel High School at 606-862-4699.