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A Numbers Game At Cottonwood

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A Numbers Game At Cottonwood

A lack of participation limits fan participation at sporting events.

A lack of participation limits fan participation at sporting events.

Anthony Carlisle

A lack of participation limits fan participation at sporting events.

Anthony Carlisle

Anthony Carlisle

A lack of participation limits fan participation at sporting events.

Tomas D'Anella, Editor-in-Chief

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Those familiar with Cottonwood High School athletics will attest that there is not always positive reputation within the school. The football team has its third coach in four years. Boys’ basketball, girls’ volleyball and wrestling all have their third in four years.

Inside the respective programs, many athletes have experienced another participant openly express their doubt in the program and the coaches. Bart Bowen, the first year head coach for Cottonwood’s football team, relates this to “the belief that a winning program will equal more opportunities at the next level.”

He and Cottonwood’s Athletic Director, Gregg Southwick, firmly shut down this belief. Southwick explained, “The reality of the matter is if an athlete is good enough for the next level he/she will be noticed and scholarships will be offered.  There’s plenty of evidence to support that claim.” Bowen adds, “Play the best you can and people will notice.”

Even despite the lack of numbers, Cottonwood athletes find a way to achieve. The reigning 5A Baseball State Champions are facing a lack of senior leadership. Head Coach Jason Crawford reports to ColtRoundup that they have 4 seniors suiting up to play this spring. This number has varied in the past four years in the program. “In 2015, we had 3; 2016 we had 10; 2017 we had 10 – numbers just fluctuate. That’s the business we are in; still, we will work hard to represent our school in the best way possible with the players that commit to us!” says Crawford.

For one reason or another, many students have their own explanation to not suit up for Cottonwood sports. Southwick believes this could be attributed to the school’s demographics. CHS is known in the area to be a largely diverse school with varying backgrounds. The athletic director says, “So many students come from homes where they don’t have a lot of money, so they assist in providing for the family/themselves. It seems that schools with a larger number of students coming from wealthier families have higher participation rates.”

Bowen admits the reputation for Cottonwood High School may dampen potential athletes’ ambitions. “Cottonwood’s reputation in football is not very positive. This is changing, however. An outsider that isn’t willing to find out for themselves will keep believing these misconceptions, but someone who looks inside the school and program will find there is more good going on than ever before… Some people would rather reap the benefits of others’ hard work than do what it takes to earn it themselves. This is the case in all walks of life, not just sports.”

Southwick lets his support for Cottonwood be known. “We are seeing evidence of improvement across the board. Occasionally you have what we refer to as rebuilding years. Some of our programs are in the middle of that process right now, others are enjoying being some of the best in the state. That’s just the way it is in high school athletics.”

Cottonwood High School may not have the greatest programs, but the support from the school body, coaches, and their own athletes measure off the charts as spoken best by Coach Bowen, “You won’t find a school in the valley with more support for its students and athletes.”

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A Numbers Game At Cottonwood