Update on high school sports merger

The merger of high school sports has give rise to games like this eight-man football match between the St. Clair Colts and Blenheim Bobcats on Oct. 3. Photo courtesy, Susan Burk/CKSN.ca

Barry Wright

The amalgamation of high school sports in Sarnia-Lambton and Chatham-Kent is going well, says the coordinator of the new Lambton Kent Secondary School Athletic Association.

“The transition has been fairly smooth,’ said James Clarke.

“We spent a lot of time in June and over the summer making sure we had everything in place so that everything would go as smooth as possible, but obviously we have had a few growing pains along the way,” he added.

One early challenge was getting officials to the proper locations because the schedules changed when schools dropped out of some leagues just before the season began, he said.

“We’ve had a few hiccups, but we’re working them out.”

Clarke says the various leagues in the association have been formed to reflect school size and create more overall parity.

At press time, Chatham-Kent had a lead of 33-17-1 in interlocking games.

Action between larger schools in sports like football, volleyball, basketball, tennis and golf has been fairly even, according to scores and information posted on the association website.

The disparity comes from smaller schools in CK winning the lion’s share of games with their small school counterparts in Sarnia-Lambton.

“They are getting to see variety of schools that they wouldn’t have seen before, and you’re not playing the same three schools that you’ve been playing for the past 40 years,” Clarke said.

And rivalries between powerhouses in various sports in the two previous associations are slowly beginning to form.

“It definitely has increased the competition level a little bit,” he said.

Clarke also feels the competitive nature of the various LKSSAA leagues will have an impact at SWOSSA (regional) and OFSSA (provincial) events.

“I can see that translating into better success down the road,” he concluded.