If a proposal is passed this April, freshman-sophomore teams could be introduced to RJUHSD, along with freshman programs being eliminated and juniors being allowed to participate in junior varsity programs.
This idea came from the athletic directors within the Sierra Foothill League (SFL), feeling very passionately that the San-Joaquin Section (SJS) is missing out on the opportunity to improve the strengths of current JV and freshman teams. Currently, the SJS is only one of very few sections in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) that don’t follow this system of arranging teams.
When travelling outside the section, JV teams within the SJS are forced to play against other JV teams that consist of not only freshmen and sophomores, but juniors as well. By having younger teams, it forces the freshmen and sophomores to play juniors, who could potentially be two years older than them, therefore limiting the team’s success. SFL league commissioner Steve Thornton believes that the athletic directors who brought the idea to him, felt that if juniors were permitted on JV teams, it could give those who would potentially get cut to stay in their sports program longer.
“The athletic directors felt really strongly that sometimes there are juniors that lose out because athletically they haven’t developed enough to play at a high level like varsity, but they have potential to develop another year on JV and maybe play their senior year [on varsity],” Thornton said. “Currently, if you’re a junior and you’re not quite good enough to play on varsity, you either get cut, or sit the bench for the year. They were looking for a way to help those people that need that extra year.”
Like Thornton, girls varsity basketball coach Josh Errecart is excited about this potential change, and believes it could be helpful in keeping more upperclassmen in sports programs. Although the change won’t affect the varsity teams very much, Errecart believes it could be extremely beneficial to the lower level teams at Roseville. By keeping juniors on JV an extra year, it could give them additional time to grow, both physically and in their sport.
“This change could really help those [juniors] who want to get involved to stay in the program an extra year and gives them an opportunity to, while also providing an opportunity for JV teams to improve a lot,” Errecart said. “This could help tremendously also in terms of player development, especially in boys programs, because boys develop at all different ages.”
Despite Errecart’s belief that this could keep more juniors in sports programs, varsity girls water polo and varsity girls soccer coach Paul Stewart thinks otherwise, that it could actually reduce the amount of players involved in Roseville’s sports. By removing the freshman teams, it changes the lowest-level teams in programs from being freshmen based, to being sophomore based. After lots of freshmen could potentially be cut from the freshman-sophomore team, Stewart believes the freshmen who didn’t make the team probably wouldn’t tryout the following years.
“Since it would be harder for freshmen to make the new team, they could either get cut or not play their sophomore year, and I may never see them come out for the sports,” Stewart said. “It’s like a chain of events, because by allowing those juniors that would get cut from varsity on JV, it takes spots away from those freshmen or sophomores who could play JV, then taking spots away from freshmen on the freshman-sophomore team.”
For juniors who have the choice of thriving on JV or getting limited playing time on varsity, some players believe that they could get better by practicing against stronger teammates, rather than continuing on JV and being the best player. Hunter Hammond is a second year varsity basketball who, as a senior, is a key player, but received limited minutes during his junior season. Hammond thinks that he, along with some of his teammates, definitely would have considered playing another year on JV.
“I think it is something I definitely would have considered and maybe even done,” Hammond said, “It makes sense because you get another year of playing before really contributing at the varsity level, and some of us would have given it some thought to get more experience.”