South Heart, Belfield could become 'Heart River' in athletics
Say goodbye to the South Heart Eagles and Belfield Bantams. Give a warm welcome to the Heart River Cougars. This could be the new reality in Belfield and South Heart if the two school boards approve a move that would combine all of their athletic...
Say goodbye to the South Heart Eagles and Belfield Bantams.
Give a warm welcome to the Heart River Cougars.
This could be the new reality in Belfield and South Heart if the two school boards approve a move that would combine all of their athletic teams.
Currently, the schools only compete separately in boys basketball. The schools already co-op in girls basketball, football, golf, track and field and volleyball.
"Right now we're working through the preliminary details," Belfield High School Principal Jeff Lamprecht said. "We're just hoping it can be worked out and it can be resolved soon."
South Heart High School Principal Curt Pierce said the district plans to hold a public school board meeting on Tuesday, April 10 where they'll vote whether or not to approve the co-op.
Belfield will hold a similar meeting Thursday, April 12.
If both school boards approve the co-op, the North Dakota High School Activities Association must do the same. However, because the schools are already together in four sports, the likelihood of approval is high.
"If all the little details can be worked out, we'd sure like to see it," Lamprecht said.
If everything goes according to plan, the schools will ditch the South Heart-Belfield and Belfield-South Heart namesakes for the new Heart River team name.
Lamprecht and Pierce said the team name, nickname and team colors were up for debate among students and their families.
A voting process, where each household in the district received one vote, helped decide on the Heart River Cougars with navy blue and Vegas gold team colors.
"To keep it as fair as possible, rather than anyone having some type of advantage ... we though that picking a new mascot and a new name would be the best thing to do," Lamprecht said.
Lamprecht added that details such as scheduling and what home games each school would host would be worked out if the co-op is approved.
Pierce, who coached South Heart's boys basketball team last season, said declining numbers on both sides have forced the schools to address the issue.
Pierce said South Heart estimates will have 88 high school students next year.
Belfield has 85 high school students this year according to Lamprecht.
While South Heart had a well-rounded boys basketball program this year, Belfield's varsity had just nine players.
"We've been low in numbers," Pierce said. "We had good numbers this year and kind of expect good numbers next year, but we know the numbers are coming down in our grade schools and it's going to have to happen."