In the wake of the news that Rockland ADs are exploring the possibility of moving back to Section 9 for the 2014-15 school year, I set out to gather some opinions on the potential switch. I spoke with a handful of prominent coaches from around the county on Tuesday, and got a pretty similar impression from all of them – they’d rather stay put. There’s something to be said about the comfort and stability of competing against the schools that you’ve developed relationships with over the years, and they all like the idea of coming from a deep section that has a strong reputation around the state. But with all of that said, each coach made sure to stress that they are willing to roll with the punches and will make the best of any situation.
I also reached out to a couple of Section 9 athletic officials to get a feel for their interest in a merger, and it became pretty clear right away that they are very receptive to the idea. Monroe-Woodbury district director told me that he’s heard that “the dialogue is going very, very well” and that he thinks it’s a “win-win” situation. If the Rockland ADs do decide to apply by the Nov. 30 deadline, it sounds like they have a very good chance for acceptance.
From a wrestling perspective, a move to Section 9 might not make as much of a difference as it would in other sports. As TZ coach Peter Dene said to me, “I’m not going to stop going to the tournaments that I go to. My schedule won’t change at all. But of course, the postseason will be different.”
As we’ve discussed this season, many teams from Rockland are among the strongest from Section 1, so the competitive affect in terms of the team that gets sent to states could be significant. It would be unfortunate to see the section get broken up after its build up some pride and momentum in the past few years.
“I can speak for wrestling, it took Section 1 a long time to build up and get to where we are, and we’ve been better than Section 9 in the past few years. It would make easier for certain individuals to win a section title,” Dene said. “To be honest, I’d be more satisfied – and I think the guys I coach would be more satisfied – doing it the hard way. I’d rather coach a Section 1 champ right now than Section 9 knowing that he had to really earn it. That’s a real prestigious title.”