By Jann Wiswall

West Valley Central Schools’ student athletes will join Ellicottville’s interscholastic sports teams beginning with the 2015-16 school year. The ECS Board of Education voted unanimously at its meeting on Wednesday, March 4, to approve West Valley’s request to partner with the Ellicottville Eagles teams following public meetings in both school districts.

The agreement between schools will continue through the 2018-19 school year.

Board Chair Carl Calarco commented that last week’s public meeting on the topic was convincing, especially because of the broad support expressed by ECS coaches and both schools’ athletic directors who agreed that the Eagles sports programs will only be improved by the addition of WV athletes.

During that meeting, Superintendent Mark Ward noted that ECS has scaled back several programs in recent years due to lack of interest, as students opt for other community, academic or employment activities or choose to specialize in one sport instead of several. Modified and JV teams in several sports cannot be supported, he said, and without those skill-building teams for younger students, varsity teams are having a much harder time staying competitive.

Ward said that WV will start signing up students right away for next year’s teams and both schools will immediately begin working out logistics.

Calarco added that he had not heard any negative comments from either community during their public discussions and said that with the coaches and parent’s support, he is confident that “this is the way to go.”