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Devils Lake wrestling, girls hockey safe for now

DEVILS LAKE -- Wrestling and girls hockey programs are safe from elimination in Devils Lake School District.The decision comes after the School Board examined a report Monday night on a two-year review of the programs.The programs were among six ...

DEVILS LAKE - Wrestling and girls hockey programs are safe from elimination in Devils Lake School District.
The decision comes after the School Board examined a report Monday night on a two-year review of the programs.
The programs were among six extracurricular activities that were scrutinized two years ago as the district looked to tighten its financial belt.
The board ultimately eliminated four programs - boys and girls golf, girls soccer and cheerleading - at the end of the 2013-14 school year.
However, wrestling and girls hockey were spared, at least for two years.
“The board feels very confident with the programs that we are now offering,” Superintendent Scott Privratsky said.
In addition to program costs, the review also weighed Title IX rules, which require equal opportunities for males and females, and cost per participant, as well as other factors, Privratsky said.
“Nobody’s on notice. We continue to review our activities on an annual basis,” he said. “Hopefully that can help our recruiting for students into those programs. They won’t have to question whether it is going to be here next year or not.”
The wrestling and girls hockey programs have rebounded since the 2014 review. The school has 16 student-athletes in its wrestling program and 17 in girls hockey, with the majority of participants in the seventh, eighth and ninth grades.
“In wrestling, they’re all very young kids,” Privratsky said. “That bodes well for our wrestling program. The same with hockey. They’re very young, so the numbers should be good for the years ahead.”
Enrollment in grades 9-12 this year is about 470, compared to about 500 in the 2013-14 school year and about 700 in 2000-01.
Like many North Dakota school districts, Devils Lake participates in cooperative programs with several area schools in many of its activities.
The wrestling team, for example, has had two student-athletes from Lakota School District and one from Minnewaukan.
The girls hockey program, which has had co-ops with the Minnewaukan, Langdon and North Star school districts, has no student-athletes from those schools.
Minnewaukan had 10 students on the Devils Lake football team this season, and nine compete in track. The Devils Lake hockey team has three from North Star and one each from Minnewaukan and New Rockford-Sheyenne.
The 2013-14 review also led to the district charging fees for participating in co-op sports.
“That was one of the issues we discussed two years ago,” the superintendent said. “Now, it’s not just Devils Lake paying for the programs. It’s based on participation.”

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