Pictured: Andover and Whitesville Girls Varsity Seniors (from left to right): María Riloba Salmón, Zoey Lee, Rylie Bryan, Rachel Jackson, Olivia Hanks, and Summer Wallace.
By WCS Journalism Class: Randa Waite, Isabella Potter, Grace Fry, and Lexy Palmatier
October 6, 2021
Between uniforms, practices, home-games, and bus rides, Andover and Whitesville’s recent sport’s merge has proved a major success. Athletic Directors Aaron Rawady (WCS) and Jake Bannerman (ACS) collaborated to create a cohesive transition for the players and community.
“We’re trying to evenly split everything between Andover and Whitesville’s games and how they are held … it requires a lot of work with me and Mr. Bannerman to get the schedule set and make sure we have transportation for all our students” says Rawady.
Transportation has been the most challenging aspect of the merge. The Athletic directors and coaches must ensure bus drivers from both schools are in the loop. “I find myself having to say, ‘oh yeah, I have to contact Rawady and people on the Whitesville side of things,’” says Bannerman.
The athletes are also adjusting to the extra time on the bus: “Going back and forth from Andover and Whitesville for practices makes it difficult to get to work on time and finish my schoolwork,” says CJ Estep, Varsity Soccer player.
Players are also adjusting to the change in uniforms. Bannerman explains how the two schools rotate between the purple and blue jerseys: “Wherever you’re playing, you’ll wear that color, and for away games we just split it 50-50.”
Many players hope to have one uniform in the future. “I think that we should just have one conjoined uniform. We are a team, we shouldn’t seem separated,” says Estep.
As former rivals, many community members questioned if the merge would be successful. Rylie Bryan, Varsity Soccer Player, says, “Never seen ourselves merging with Whitesville for sports, but it’s been pretty easy.”
The coaches have gone the extra mile to build relationships between the players. Al Barber, Varsity Girls Soccer coach says, “I wanted to make sure that all the Whitesville girls felt welcomed, comfortable, and important. Meshing on the field would be simple if we could accomplish those things.” Although the merge is “… different from what I’m used to,” says Rachel Jackson, Varsity Soccer player, she has enjoyed getting out of her shell and bonding with her new teammates.
So far, the benefits of the merge outweigh the minor inconveniences. “It’s giving our kids an opportunity to play sports. Before the merge, both schools noticed they may have trouble not being able to provide certain opportunities to our student athletes,” says Rawady.