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Merger Of CV-Falconer Baseball Not Anticipated

The Cassadaga Valley Central School District will likely not merge its baseball program with Falconer Central School for the upcoming season. Falconer recently took preliminary steps to support a combined baseball program. P-J file photo

SINCLAIRVILLE — Charles Leichner, Cassadaga Valley Central School District superintendent, said the district will likely not merge its baseball program this year despite preliminary actions taken by Falconer Central School officials.

“At this point, based on the number of athletes who have signed up, we do not anticipate sharing baseball this season,” Leichner told The Post-Journal.

The Falconer Central School Board of Education approved a resolution to support a merged baseball program with Cassadaga at a January meeting. Stephen Penhollow, Falconer superintendent, noted at the time that the merger would still need approval from Section IV and Cassadaga. However, Leichner said that Cassadaga will no longer need to merge to keep its program. The two schools have merged sports programs in the past and operate under a shared agreement.

“It really is a numbers game,” Leichner told The Post-Journal about how the district considers sharing athletic programs with other school districts.

During the January meeting at Falconer, the board also approved a resolution to support the merging of its basketball program with Cassadaga for the 2020-21 school year. Additionally, Falconer board members and the district athletic director discussed with members of the public of expanding its combined football program with Cassadaga in the fall.

At Monday’s Cassadaga Valley Board of Education meeting, Leichner said members of the public attended to ask questions regarding more potential mergers with Falconer.

“Their question was, ‘What do we see moving forward?'” Leichner said of the community’s concern on Monday.

While most were in support of the district’s ongoing shared programming, Leichner said, some were concerned following a Jan. 23 article in The Post-Journal regarding Falconer’s merger resolutions.

“Our understanding was that while the article seemed to indicate that there were agreements in place to share varsity baseball this season, as well as move to three levels of shared football and also the consideration of sharing boy’s varsity basketball for next year, that was only preliminary paperwork that had to be filed with Section VI that had not been considered by both schools at that point,” Leichner said.

While Leichner reiterated that there won’t be a merger for the two baseball programs, he noted that it is too soon to tell regarding its 2020-21 football and boys’ basketball teams.

In 2019, the two schools operated with a merged varsity football team while both individual schools fielded a modified team. At the recent Falconer meeting, there was discussion of potentially fielding three combined football teams for modified, jayvee and varsity. However, Leichner said it was likely that both schools would operate as it did last year with solely a merged varsity team.

“There was discussion about the potential benefits for three levels of football — modified for grades 7 and 8, jayvee for those in grades 9 and 10, and varsity for those in grades 11 and 12 — and it was suggested that player participation and safety would always be the driving force behind those types of program decisions,” Leichner said. “But our current understanding is that our football team configuration will be the same in 2020 as it was in 2019.”

Regarding basketball, the Falconer board approved a resolution supporting the merging of its varsity boys’ basketball team with Cassadaga while potentially keeping its own individual jayvee team. Penhollow said the possible move is to help build up its own program for a year.

“As for basketball for next year, Cassadaga Valley has enough players to continue with both jayvee and varsity programs, but under the terms of our agreement with Falconer we will welcome them to join us should they not have enough athletes to field a team,” Leichner said.

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