Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Should outdoor sports be moved to Moose Lake?


At the December 6 meeting of the Moose Lake/Willow River sports liaison, Moose Lake Community School Superintendent Robert Indihar spoke about moving all outdoor sports to Moose Lake when the new athletic fields are ready.

“We are putting a lot of money into our outdoor facilities,” he said. “We are investigating looking at having all sports in Moose Lake. We are not looking at breaking up the cooperative. We are looking at the football and softball fields and seeing where we can get the best bang for the buck. That would be in the spring and fall of 2018. We have to let the grass grow next summer.”

That statement brought a response from Dave Louzek, athletic director from Willow River.

“Willow River had much nicer facilities for volleyball and basketball,” he said. “No one said that we have better facilities, let’s play here.”

Jamie Jungers of the Moose Lake School Board said Moose Lake will have a new $1.2 million track, football field, stadium seating and a press box.

“I can’t believe that you would not want to use that,” he said.

“We are putting money into a track so the kids won’t have to run on the streets,” said Tom Paull of the Moose Lake School Board. “I’m looking at what’s best for our kids.”

In later discussion, Louzek said, “One thing that I love about our (football) field is that there is no track around it. Everyone can be right on top of the field. There are tracks around the football field in many of the other schools that we play.”

“People on the outside think our schools are together, too,” said Bruce Bohaty of the Willow River School Board. We have a partnership that got us to this point today. We want to be a strong partner, not be or perceived to be a weak partner. The perception from both communities is that we are equal. We are not equal in athletes. But we are stronger together. I think the kids would suffer if we were not together. Would the program be competitive if we were not together?”

Willow River Superintendent Phil Johnson said there has been a proposal to spend $160,000 on new lights for the football field in Willow River.

“It depends on what Moose Lake does,” he said. “That’s why it has not been done.”

Indihar pointed out that the Moose Lake School Board was only investigating the possibility of having the sports in Moose Lake. No final decision had been made.

After considerable discussion, it was decided to hold a special meeting late in February, when there is more information about the athletic fields in Moose Lake. No date was set.

“I don’t have any objections to conversations like that,” said Greg Bennett of the Willow River School Board. “We have opportunities. How would they work into the cooperative? For the life of the cooperative, this needs to be discussed.”

There was discussion about “C” team coaches. An agreement had been recommended for approval by the liaison previously. The Willow River School Board approved it, but the Moose Lake School Board did not because of one line in the agreement.

Paull explained five players were needed for a basketball team but the agreement would be inconsistent for all sports. He said eighth and ninth grade players could be used to make a team. He added the system used this year worked and worked well.

“The idea is that, if the number of players present themselves, we would get a coach,” said Tony Andres, athletic director for Moose Lake. “It won’t be the same every year; we may not have a team if there isn’t enough students. We only do this for volleyball and basketball. It’s working out for the better.”

It was recommended the agreement be changed to the language suggested by the Moose Lake group. The revised agreement will be brought to each of the school boards for approval.


Reader Comments

Laker71 writes:

I do not see anyone advocating the breakup of the partnership. I believe that since the partnership started, football games and practices have been at Willow River. This made sense for various reasons. With the new school at Moose Lake and the new outdoor athletic fields, maybe we should reconsider shifting outdoor sports to Moose Lake for a number of years. Maybe even alternating years.


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