WILMINGTON, MA — At its meeting this week, the School Committee unanimously approved the request of Wilmington High School Athletic Director Mia Muzio to form a co-op gymnastics team with Bedford High School for the 2021-2022 school year’s winter season.
The team, which would participate in the Middlesex League, would practice and compete at GymStreet USA in Wilmington. GymStreet would likely provide the head coach as well.
The estimated first year of cost of this 2-year co-op would be approximately $14,000, which includes the coaching stipend ($5,500); facility ($5,000); transportation ($2,275); and judges/officials ($700). Since they can’t be returned or reused, the gymnastics team would pay for their own uniforms, offset by potential fundraising. Because the team’s expenses were not factored into next school year’s budget, each member would be expected to pay a $400 user fee. The fee would likely be removed in subsequent years.
The team, for which Wilmington would be the “host” school, is expected to have 8-10 student athletes from Wilmington and 5-6 student athletes from Bedford, according to Muzio.
“The number would be 13-16 for the team in total, which is a healthy gymnastics team,” said Muzio. “You can run a gymnastics team with about 10. The requirement by the MIIA is 8. We’re trying to be sustainable for a long-term program.”
“I want to thank you for where [retired WHS Athletic Director] Ed Harrison left off,” responded School Committee member MJ Byrnes. “Co-oping with other districts is the way to go if we can’t sustain it within our own districts. Bringing in more opportunities for our students to participate in is a success for the overall athletic department.”
“[This issue] has come in front of this board several times over the years and I’m really happy to see we now have a pathway to pursue this sport for students who are interested,” added Byrnes.
“Our gymnastics families have been asking for this for a number of years,” agreed School Committee Vice Chair David Ragsdale. “We’ve heard from the gymnasts themselves about how they wish they could compete for their school, and not just in their clubs. I think this is great that we’re finally making that commitment come true.”
Muzio explained that the Bedford School Committee will now need to approve their high school’s involvement in the team, followed by approval from the MIIA. There are still many steps in the process, but Muzio hopes to have everything in place for the team to compete during this upcoming school year.
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