Revere kids, parents must provide impetus to establish new sports

by Sheldon Ocker

Revere High School has yet to act on the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s decision in January to allow high schools to field varsity girls wrestling teams and boys volleyball teams.

Athletic Director Don Seeker said he has not addressed the OHSAA’s ruling but is not opposed to adding one or two varsity teams to the school’s roster of sports. However, to initiate the process, parents and students must express interest.

“I haven’t had any official conversations,’’ said Seeker. “I really haven’t heard of anyone expressing interest pertaining to that. But certainly if the OHSAA sponsors those sports and we have a group that wants to do it, we would love that.’’

Girls are represented on several Ohio high school wrestling teams, but they are boys teams. Seeker said no girls have shown interest in joining the Revere boys wrestling team this school year. However, he knows from experience that girl wrestlers can be competitive, especially the lower weight classes.

“When I was at Chippewa High School, we had five or six girls on the wrestling team,’’ the AD said. “I think there were four in middle school and two in high school. I hired a female to coach the team, and she was awesome.’’

If enough Revere students expressed a desire for boys volleyball or girls wrestling, Seeker said there is a path to make it happen. The first step is for the board of education to ratify the decision and make money available to pay a coach, buy uniforms and equipment.

“Typically you start it as a club sport and prove you have enough kids to do it,’’ Seeker said. “After two or three years, it could become a varsity sport.’’

Seeker was athletic director at Tallmadge High School, where he became aware of another hurdle.

“Schools the size of Tallmadge and Revere [fewer than 900 students}, it can be hard to fill the rosters of teams we have now,’’ he said. “But I am not against adding a sport.’’

However, if boys volleyball were played in the spring, it would be joining a crowded calendar that includes baseball, lacrosse, track and field and tennis. If it were played in the fall, which is volleyball season for girls, it would be competing for athletes with football, soccer, boys golf and boys cross country.

“Are you going to have enough kids?’’ Seeker said. “If you have a [boys] varsity volleyball team, are you going to lose freshman or jayvee baseball? It can work out well or not so well.

“I’m all for giving kids as many opportunities as we can, with clubs, athletics, whatever. I love that. But when you add one thing, you sometimes take away from other programs. Then you wonder, are we doing justice to either program?’’

 Another obstacle might be finding other schools to play, inasmuch as both sports are new to Ohio high schools. However, girls wrestling teams and boys volleyball teams already exist but are not sanctioned by schools. The Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association has conducted state tournaments since 1988. The Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association has held girls tournaments since 2020. ∞