Dukes varsity letter criteria changes, new Wellington club and programs

By Valerie Urbanik - vurbanik@civitasmedia.com

Athletic director Denny Ziegler

Athletic director Denny Ziegler

Changes to the criteria for earning a Dukes varsity letter are on the horizon, as is the creation of a letterman’s club at Wellington High School.

Athletic director Denny Ziegler and members of the school’s athletic council are reviewing each sport’s requirements to earn a varsity letter. “We think in some sports it’s too easy to get a varsity letter and other sports too hard,” Ziegler said.

The council is researching how other schools set the bar for earning letters.

Ziegler said each sport needs to have its own requirements because they are all different.

Basketball and football are decided on the number of quarters an athlete plays, whereas baseball and softball are based on innings played, he said.

No decisions have been made yet.

Once the requirements for letters are clarified, a letterman’s club will be created for student-athletes with 10 to 12.

“We are going to try to encourage more students to participate in some sort of sport,” Ziegler said. “I wanted to give out awards at the end of each year for those who are three-sport lettermen.”

There are not many students in the 10 to 12 letter range, which usually requires an athlete to play three sports. “We have a lot of two-sport athletes,” Ziegler said.

“There’s been research proven that the more sports someone plays the better the athlete will be,” he said.

He is even looking into a way to award students for attending sporting events and wants to send out surveys to find why students are or are not participating in Dukes sports.

Ziegler believes awarding students for attending games would encourage more to support their classmates.

The survey is something Wellington’s athletic director has been wanting to do since last year. The aim is to get feedback not only from students but also parents.

Fewer than half of WHS students participate in at least one sport.

“I’d be happy if we had 60 to 70 percent of students playing sports,” Ziegler said. “It be great to get 50 percent of those kids doing multiple sports.”

Two other initiatives Ziegler and assistant high school principal and head football coach Sean Arno are interested in starting are a Big Brother-Big Sister program and a reading program in the district.

Ziegler said the Big Brother-Big Sister program would partner high school and middle school students and the older kids would attend events their “brothers” or “sisters” are in.

The reading program would entail players from the high school football team reading to students at Westwood Elementary School every Friday.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-647-3171 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.

Athletic director Denny Ziegler
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2015/12/web1_Ziegler.jpgAthletic director Denny Ziegler

By Valerie Urbanik