The West Sioux School District will have school Wednesday, Feb. 13, although its wrestling team is heading to the team State Dual Wrestling Tournament in Des Moines.
While this is the second consecutive year the wrestling team has qualified, this year’s decision was a reversal from last year’s. The decision was made based on last year’s participation numbers at the state event.
“At last year’s wrestling dual, we had a small percentage of students and staff go to Des Moines for the dual tournament,” said West Sioux Superintendent Ryan Kramer. “By looking at the number of attendees and taking in account the number of students that did not attend school, it was important that we stay in session to provide school for those that may not have the means or ability to travel to Des Moines.”
The school does not have a policy to support the decision. However, during discussions early in the wrestling season between administration and the West Sioux board of education, a consensus was formed to not dismiss school for the dual state wrestling meet if the team qualified. Kramer said all were in agreement and the wrestling coaches were made aware of the decision earlier in the season.
This decision has some supporters baffled due to last year’s decision to cancel school for the same reason — the team making it to the state duals. The decision last year was a suggestion from Kramer and his recommendation was approved.
While there will be school, Kramer and the board still encourage students and staff to attend the duals in support of the team; however, staff will need to use a personal day and students will need to bring in their ticket stub showing proof of attending.
In an e-mail to parents, the district offered an explanation:
“Each student who plans to attend the State Dual Wrestling Tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 13, or the State Individual Wrestling Tournament on Feb. 14-15 will be granted an excused absence from school when they return to school with a ticket stub showing attendance at each date attended. (i.e. each individual student (siblings must have individual stubs) must return to school with a ticket stub for every day absent.”
Wrestlers compete individually Saturday, Feb. 9, in Sibley to earn a spot at the state individual wrestling tournament.
“I am very excited and proud of the hard work and dedication of our wrestlers,” Kramer said. “I would like to see as many community members and students as possible go to Des Moines to support this team and the individuals that qualify for the individual state tournament.”
Wrestling coach Mark Van Oort declined to comment.