North Zulch will bump up from 1A to 2A in the fall, but the athletes believe there is little cause for concern.
Athletic Director Marshall Earnhart first heard of the change when it was posted on the UIL Web site last month. The classification is based on student enrollment. The high school currently has about 125 students; 104 was the cutoff for 1A. The majority of North Zulch students participate in athletics.
“We’re not scared,” Earnhart said last week. “North Zulch is never going to back down. We’re going to compete. We’ll be one of the smallest schools in 2A but we’re still going to give 100 percent. Every coach I have is going to train the kids to win a championship. We may not make it that far, but that’s going to be our goal.”
With the exception of Earnhart and softball/volleyball coach Greg Horn, the coaching staff is fairly new. Baseball coach Matt McManemin is in his first year, as is basketball coach David Graves.
“I think for the boys, [the move to 2A] will be great,” Graves said. “We have a lot of young talent coming in and still within the core of the program. I think the move will be great for the school and also will challenge us as a new 2A program to grow and fight.”
Earnhart noted that there is no pressure to add a football team.
“We don’t have the numbers,” he said.
Several North Zulch sports, including volleyball, softball and baseball, already competed against 2A teams. Basketball and the “spring sports” such as golf, tennis and track, have not in the past competed against 2A schools.
Junior Robin Diserens, who plays volleyball and softball, said the students were expecting the change and were not concerned.
“There’s no apprehension,” she said. “Normangee and Burton will be good opponents.”
Earnhart reiterated that when North Zulch’s 2A classification takes effect in the fall, Normangee would be a big competitor.
“Everybody we play against next year is gong to be a challenge,” Earnhart said.