|Sandy High teams finish season without home pool posted on 03/01/2020|
Last May, the Sandy Pool closed its doors as the City of
Sandy looked to refine its vision for the pool, part of a larger Sandy
Community Campus project. That closure left the Sandy High School (SHS) swim
and water polo teams without a home pool, but did not stop them from competing
The two teams, which wrapped up their seasons last month,
practiced at an outdoor pool at Mount Hood Community College (MHCC) and held a
number of “home” games at other schools, including Parkrose and Barlow. That
lead to more travel for the teams and the athletes dealing with colder
temperatures during practice times.
“I’m sure that the coaches and kids would say that in a lot
of ways it was more difficult,” said Garet Luebbert, SHS Athletic Director.
“They did okay; better than last year.”
Mountain resident Gretchen McAbery, who had two children,
Emma and Griffin, on both teams this year, noted the practice pool was heated,
but that many parents bought their kids parkas to stay warm between the locker
room and the pool, adding that the parents were concerned about the situation.
“We don’t like that the kids are having to swim outside,”
Gretchen said. “The fall wasn’t bad, being outside was actually a beautiful
Emma, a senior who joined the water polo team her sophomore
year and the swim team her junior year, noted a number of differences from past
seasons, including getting home later due to the travel and dealing with the
rain during some practices, plus a practice that was cancelled due to the low
temperature. Despite the challenges, she added that the situation might have
provided advantages, such as the practice pool having two deep ends and athletes
treading water the entire time, but also disadvantages, such as younger players
not learning how to stay in control.
“I don’t think we were behind (other teams),” Emma said,
adding that it was disappointing to have “Senior Nights” (a designated home
match for sports teams that typically offers a great deal of support from
friends, family and more) located in other communities.
Griffin, a junior who has done water polo all three years in
high school and joined the swim team for his sophomore year, added the locker
room situation was not ideal, as most team members brought their stuff outside
with them for safekeeping. That led to occasions where their belongings got wet
from the rain.
Despite the challenges, Griffin plans on participating next
year even if the practice situation remains the same.
“You’d have to cut my legs off not to do water polo,” he
Luebbert noted that he expects to move forward with an agreement
with MHCC for next season, while making sure they have “something to fall back
on” and that they will watch Sandy’s decisions with their pool “very closely.”
“(Our parents’) voice and their concern for continuing
strong aquatic sports needs to be heard at the city level,” he said, adding
that SHS enjoys a strong water sports community that sticks together and has
done a lot to keep the sports alive.
Emma, who will go to the Cascades Campus of Oregon State
University this fall, noted she wants the programs to continue for her friends
who are sophomores and freshmen.
“I want them to continue to play,” she said. “I want people
to still have those opportunities.”
By Garth Guibord/MT