Group looks for ways to make BHS sports more competitive

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Sticky notes stating good things about BHS and its challenges were sorted into categories at a Feb. 19 meeting attended by parents, grandparents, coaches, teachers, and interested District 777 residents. The primary objective of the meeting was to look for ways to improve the competitiveness of the high school’s athletic programs.

A group of 45 Benson Public Schools residents attended a two-and-a-half hour meeting Feb. 19 hoping to find solutions for improving the performance of athletic programs that have been struggling for years now.

It’s not all about winning, those at the meeting agreed, but Benson High School sports must become at least competitive in its sports. For that to happen, tthere has to be accountability from what is seen as the pyramid of authority.

It starts with citizens who are the voters. Then goes to their elected representatives on the board of education – Chair Chad Payne, Gary Williams, Bill McGeary, Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Mary Langan, Tammy Gunlogson, and Paul Carruth.  They want leadership from Supt. Dennis Laumeyer, who answers to the school board. From there it goes to the activities director and the coaches.

“How does Benson High School make positive changes that will fix some of the problems with programs that are not as successful as the music programs, the Business Professionals Association (BPA), or athletic programs like gymnastics?” Angela Nissen, an organizer of the meeting, asked.

Benson’s football team is 3-42 in the past five years and was 0-9 this season. The boys basketball team was 42-88 coming into the 2017-18 school year and finished the regular season 0-25 for a six-year record of 42-113.

The girls basketball team finished the season 5-22 for a six-year record of 14-140. However, it was showing signs of improvement. Girls hockey finished the season 1-17 for a six-year record of 17-98. The boys hockey team was 7-14-1 bringing its win-loss record to 46-99.

While it has a losing team record of 9-13, Benson’s wrestling team sent two participants to the state tournament. Its six-year record is now 42-77.

Benson’s gymnastics team was 4-3 this season and now has a six-year record of 41-12. It qualified one athlete to the state tournament.
 

 

 

Posting the good and what needs work

 

The meeting started with people writing down comments on sticky notes about the positive aspects of Benson High School athletics and activities. They followed that by writing down the negatives and challenges facing the school.

There was general agreement the BHS music program was outstanding along with the Business Professional Association program. The success of the gymnastics team and the tennis teams are a positive, those at the meeting said. Benson’s robotics program and its trades skills programs are good. There is an active community that wants to help improve what the school has to offer.

However, the list of challenges and negative issues at the school was a longer list. Lack of accountability for sports programs, an administration too afraid to address issues, coaching positivity, player/coach work ethic, bullying and yelling by coaches, putting down players and families, coaches playing favorites, basketball scores and losing records, football scores and losing records, kids picked at a young age to be the future starters, complacency with losing, fair treatment of all athletes, and athletes not buying into coach’s programs were among the issues listed....

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Pictured:  Sticky notes stating good things about BHS and its challenges were sorted into categories at a Feb. 19 meeting attended by parents, grandparents, coaches, teachers, and interested District 777 residents. The primary objective of the meeting was to look for ways to improve the competitiveness of the high school’s athletic programs.
 

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