Here is the story my colleague Nancy Haggarty wrote on Kennedy’s potential move to the CHSAA.
After more than three decades competing against public schools in Section 1, John F. Kennedy Catholic High School appears poised to switch next fall to the Catholic High School Athletic Association.
Father Mark Vaillancourt, president of the school, confirmed Thursday that a move may happen and said Kennedy’s Board of Trustees has left the decision to him. He would not say when he anticipates announcing his decision, nor which way he is leaning.
However, Kennedy first-year boys basketball coach Al Morales believes the switch is a certainty. And Morales is applauding it.
“It’s awesome. It will enhance enrollment and increase the athletics program,” he said. “We’ll get 24 games as opposed to 18 (for varsity boys basketball) and there will be JV and freshman playoffs. As an ex-Catholic schools player (the Bronx’s St. Nicholas of Tolentine High School), I’m excited.”
Kennedy, which was in the CHSAA when the school opened in Somers in 1966 as John F. Kennedy High School, is now only one of two Catholic schools in Westchester playing in Section 1 — the all-girls Ursuline School in New Rochelle is the other, according to Vaillancourt.
But that does not appear to enter into the switch.
Rather, Vaillancourt pointed to the CHSAA, which spans New York City’s five boroughs, Long Island and Westchester, as offering better competition and greater exposure.
“They’re very competitive and have a lot of nationally ranked teams. There’s a lot going for it,” he said.
One enticement is the possibility of more athletes garnering college athletic scholarships.
“It’s an obvious reason to think about it,” Vaillancourt said. “It would probably be the best exposure for our school and for our studentsand student-athletes.”
Another reason for moving, though, is Kennedy’s clear dissatisfaction with being forced in some sports to compete in large-enrollment leagues, facing, for instance, 3,400-student Arlington.
Vaillancourt noted Kennedy, at 568 students, is a B-sized school.
But this school year Kennedy’s boys soccer, basketball and baseball teams have been assigned to compete in large-school AA.
Morales indicated that prompted Kennedy to first consider moving its boys teams to the CHSAA with the girls remaining in Section 1. But he said Section 1 gave it an “all-or-none” ultimatum.
Section 1 director Jen Simmons could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Somers High School athletic director Roman Catalino, the Section 1 boys basketball coordinator, said a section committee makes class assignments.
Catalino, who’s not on that committee, explained only public schools are guaranteed class placement by enrollment.
Win/loss records are part of what help determine private school team class placement, said Catalino, who expressed surprise and regret over Kennedy’s anticipated departure.
But Danny Cruz, 16, of Yorktown, a junior guard on Morales’ team, is looking forward to the CHSAA.
“It will be good competition. It’s going to be different playing city teams,” he said.
Asked about the downside of moving, Morales, who said Kennedy would continue playing some local public schools as “crossovergames,” said, “In my book, it’s all up.”