BATAVIA — Batavia City School District athletics doesn’t enjoy the highest level of student participation that athletic director Mike Bromley has seen in his time with the district, but he’s had a good year, he says.
Bromley reviewed the sports program year Thursday night at the Batavia school board meeting and said about 53% of students played at least one sport in 2021-22.
Many of this year’s student-athletes played more than one sport. There were 336 sports students in the fall, 283 in the winter and 314 in the spring, he said.
“It’s my 23rd year. We started at 39% (in 1999) with participation. We were up to 57%. With COVID, we went down a bit,” Bromley said.
The athletic director said the athletic program has averaged 1.22% of the school’s budget over the past 16 years.
“When people talk about the value you get, I think 53% of our kids are getting great value on a very small portion of our budget,” he said. “I think it’s money well spent.”
Bromley said there are individual sectional champions and a state champion, Zenallah Hatcher, who won the NYS Division II state title in shot put earlier this month.
“Every season we sent people to the state meeting,” Bromley said. “Our football team started the fall with a championship, then in the winter our men’s track and field team. Our girls were right behind.
Track teams changed it in the spring, with the girls winning one title and the boys finishing second, as well as second-place finishes in baseball and softball.
“Just getting to the league games and you’re doing it really, really well, so I’m really proud of what our teams have done,” Bromley said.
Speaking of Batavia’s sports offerings, Bromley said the district has a big program. There are 35 boys’ teams in 14 programs throughout the year and 31 girls’ teams in 13 programs. Bromley noted the expansion of the winter schedule with United Bowling.
“I know you saw that we won a district award for introducing this,” he told the Board of Education. “Literally, we were looking forward, last year, to ‘Learn to do it,'” he said. “I think we can improve this year. We’re going to offer that again.
The breakdown of women’s sports by season is as follows: fall, six programs, 14 teams; winter, five programs, 11 teams; spring, two programs, six teams. Men’s sports, by season >: fall, three programs, nine teams; winter, six programs, 14 teams; spring, five programs, 12 teams.
“We have 79 coaches that we employ. It’s a pretty big operation,” Bromley said.
The athletic director said one of the questions posed to the district was: what do they do with incomplete teams and combined teams?
In women’s gymnastics, Batavia combined with Alexander, Elba, Le Roy and Byron-Bergen. In JV and college ice hockey, Batavia has partnered with Notre Dame, Alexander, Oakfield-Alabama and Elba. Batavia and Notre Dame combined in the boys’ and girls’ swimming. The Blue Devils combined with Attica in wrestling and with Notre Dame in lacrosse.
“We only missed one sporting season. We have been able to succeed where we have been able to hold every season except the spring of March which first happened (in 2020). We lost that,” Bromley said.
The district combined teams with various schools to increase the number of participants and reduce the expenses of each school on the merged team.
In women’s gymnastics, Batavia has previously had as many as 10 athletes on the team, Bromley said.
“Last year we only had three or four,” he said. “We wouldn’t be able to offer that to our kids if we didn’t combine with those other school districts.”
Bromley said 23 of 27 teams throughout the year earned New York State Scholar Athlete status. Teams of varsity athletes must have at least 75% of the team with a combined academic average of 90% or higher.
“For our 23 teams that were varsity athletes, 94.94 was their average. And our teams that didn’t make it, their average was 88.06%, so they’re not far behind. They train, they practice several sports. We try to make sure they do things academically as well.