Monett broadens sports scope

Saturday, July 28, 2018
Monett will offer baseball and softball at the middle school level beginning this season. The district hopes that the addition of the programs will provide a steady feeder program to the high school level and that more students will have the opportunity to experience sports activities. Pictured is Monett’s state champion softball team in its warm-up cheer. Jared Lankford/

Middle school to offer softball, baseball

After mulling the decision for the last few years, Monett Athletic Director Daryl Bradley and Assistant Sports Director Michael Calhoun made an official presentation and requested to the Monett School Board to add middle school softball and baseball to its sports offerings.

“I think we currently have good feeder programs and this push came from our high school programs,” Bradley said. “We have had success in both programs and we feel like this can add to our success.”

Last year, Monett won a state title in softball, and for six of the last seven seasons, the Cubs played for or won a district baseball title.

Bradley pointed to the cross-country team as an example of the type of success having a middle school feeder program can have upon the varsity level.

Monett’s varsity cross-country team had dwindled to as low as seven members, but the ranks in the last two years have ballooned to over 30, thanks in large part to the sport’s exposure at the younger grade levels.

“This is just an opportunity to work with kids more and get the [varsity] system,” Bradley said. “We are appreciative of what we have, but felt this would enhance our programs more. Our numbers aren’t great in softball because there is a lot going on in the fall. We feel like this could give a player an opportunity to experience the sport that maybe wasn’t there before.”

Bradley said the school board was supportive of the idea and he hopes the decision to add these sports pays off for those who take advantage of these new sports offerings.

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