Waitsburg School District and Prescott School District have decided not to move forward with a partial sports combine for the upcoming school year.

At Waitsburg School Board’s March meeting, Dirk Hansen, Waitsburg's athletics director said Prescott’s athletics director had come to him about the possibility of a partial combine between the two high schools for soccer and football this fall.

Hansen told the school board at its meeting on Thursday, April 20, that the two districts had decided not to move forward with the combine at this time because they were unsure what would happen with classification and enrollment. Prescott is currently classified as a 1B district (1-104 students) and Waitsburg, which is part of a combine with Dayton School District until the end of the school year, is currently classified as 2B (105-224 students).

“Prescott indicated initially they wanted to do football and soccer in the fall,” Hansen said. “But now Prescott’s kind of backing off that a little bit because they feel that the numbers are close enough to possibly change classifications, and the last thing we want to be is a 2B school when 1B is appropriate.”

Waitsburg is still trying to find new coaches since its long-standing combine with Dayton School District was dissolved in November 2022. The combine was dissolved after Sam Korslund, the joint athletics director for Dayton-Waitsburg, brought a set of issues to Dayton School Board in May 2022. He said there was a lack of communication between school boards, conflict between student athletes from different schools and different rules about who was eligible to play.

At the time, Korslund said the program would only work if the districts fixed these problems. The combine was then dissolved in a vote by Dayton school board in November.

“With everything that’s been going on with this (Dayton-Waitsburg) combine mess, it’s probably the best decision,” Hansen said.

Superintendent Mark Pickel said the district was still facing issues caused by the Dayton-Waitsburg dissolvement because both school districts must hire new coaches for the sports that were part of the combine.

“We did hire a football coach, we’ve got an assistant football coach and we just hired a basketball coach,” Pickel said. “We’ve got a girls’ high school (basketball) posting on the website and then we’ve got multiple middle school positions that are open.”

No vote was taken on the matter by Waitsburg School Board. Hansen said that Waitsburg and Prescott may revisit the idea of a partial combine in the future.

“Both Prescott and Waitsburg’s ADs, together in communication with both school boards, have decided to hold off for now on pursuing a partial combine until we attain more information regarding combined enrollment and its possible effect on our classification status,” Hansen said.

Loryn Kykendall reports on health care and education. She can be reached at lkykendall@wwub.com.

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