Eastern BOE receives presentation on 2014–2015 school year athletics at August meeting

As is tradition at the August meeting of the Eastern Camden County Regional School District Board of Education, board members were treated to a report summarizing athletic activities at the school for the prior school year.

At the board’s Aug. 19 meeting, Eastern’s vice principal of athletics Phil Smart was on hand to go over athletic developments for the 2014–2015 school year.

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For the year, Smart said Eastern continued to offer 27 sports programs, and the overall participation rate for those programs increased by about 100 students from the 2013–2014 school year.

According to Smart, much of that growth was in Eastern’s winter programs, as the 2013–2014 school year had 278 students participating in winter sports, which then rose to 355 students participating in the 2014–2015 year.

Smart said the growth was specifically related to the winter track and swimming programs, with swimming now comprised of 80 students, male and female.

Smart said he believed that was due to Eastern’s swim coach Theresa DeCoursey, who is also the swim coach at the Voorhees Swim Club.

“There’s a lot of continuity,” Smart said. “She’s working with them in the summer. She’s working with young kids; they get involved in swimming and continue and it’s coming up right through the program.”

Smart said the school’s swim teams also saw competitive success last year, as the boys and girls teams had their most successful seasons swimming of the last five or six seasons.

Across all sports for 2014–2015, Smart said Eastern had six student athletes receive scholarships to NCAA Division I schools, anywhere from 50 percent to full tuition.

The year also saw the school with eight conference championships, and 24 of the school’s 27 teams qualifying for the NJSIAA tournament, which Smart said was the largest number of teams to qualify in his time at Eastern.

Smart also noted Eastern’s well-known success in field hockey, with last year’s team once again winning section and state championships.

“It’s the 16th consecutive year, so the field hockey program continues to roll,” Smart said. “It’s just amazing, and I look forward to a great fall season.”

Smart also spoke of the student athletic fee instituted in 2010 of $125 per student, $250 maximum per family. Last year, Smart said the district instituted an option to pay via PayPal, which is slightly more expensive by about a few dollars due to the site’s usage fees.

“About 50 percent of our families use the option of paying by PayPal, and 50 percent continue to pay by check,” Smart said.

According to Smart, last year the district raised more than $100,000 for its athletic program from student activity fees.

Smart also spoke about the efforts to replace the bleachers and do work to the floors in Gyms 2 and 4.

Smart said the bleachers in Gym 2 have already been removed to resurface the floor, and new bleachers will be installed in Gym 2 in November. At that time, the bleachers will be removed from Gym 4 while new flooring will be placed where the bleachers were before, and when that dries Gym 4 will receive its new bleachers.

Smart said he expected all work to be completed by Nov. 20.

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