JCM, CMS adding sports options for students

Jackson-Madison County Schools is increasing the athletic opportunities for students, particularly for schools inside the city as Jackson Central-Merry continues its return from having been shut down for more than half a decade.

The school has just offered basketball and football opportunities for students wishing to play sports with athletes in another sport participating in a co-op with North Side.

But the Cougars are adding a few sports to their offering this year: track and field, cross country and soccer.

“As we continue to grow JCM athletics, we want to add what we can each year, and those sports are the ones we see we can add with the highest potential for success within the school,” said Jason Bridgeman, the athletic director for the district.

He said no coaches have been hired for any of the sports, but some already on staff at the school have expressed interest in coaching those sports.

“We’re not making a post for an entire new coaching position,” Bridgeman said. “At this point in the year, there are plenty of open teaching positions across the district our HR department needs to be focused on, so we’re going to hire these coaches in house since we know they’re willing and available.”

With soccer being a sport that is played in fall (girls) and spring (boys), Bridgeman said he couldn’t commit to whether or not there would be a JCM girls’ soccer team this year.

“At this point, it would be really tough, but it’s possible,” Bridgeman said. “We’ll have to see what students are interested and if there are scheduling options.

“But we also have to take into account the schools they co-op with. How much would North Side’s teams be affected if we decide this late to field a team at JCM We’re taking that into consideration too.”

In addition to adding teams at JCM, a nearby middle school is getting a significant number of sports added as well.

Community Montessori, who has traditionally co-oped with Rose Hill for its athletics, are adding soccer, baseball, softball, track and field and cross country. They will continue to co-op with Rose Hill in basketball and football.

“We had a lot of interest in sports from that school, so we’re in a situation that we can add those sports there,” Bridgeman said.

School board member Jason Compton, who serves on the district’s athletic committee, said it will probably be best for CMS to co-op with Rose Hill for at least football.

“With about 200 students in grades 6-8, they don’t really have enough enrollment for a football program unless half the students in those grades were to express an interest,” Compton said. “But it’s great to see sports really becoming a viable part of these schools again because many of us know how important athletic teams can be to a school and its culture.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news