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Missouri School District Keeps Athletes from Competing at Out-of-State Meet

2 May, 2018

By: Michael Popke

When state high school athletic associations don’t have bylaws regarding out-of-state travel by student-athletes and interscholastic teams, that decision is left to individual school districts.

Earlier this month, the Blue Springs (Mo.) School District determined that two of the best distance runners in Missouri could not compete at California’s Arcadia Invitationalnear Los Angeles on April 6-7 — citing district policy.

The runners, Blue Springs High School senior Victor Mugeche and Blue Springs South senior Victoria Findley, were to compete in an accomplished field in the 3200 meters.

“It isn't just about cost,” Blue Springs School District activities director Mark Bubaloexplained to MileSplit USA, a running website. “It's about missing class time. It's about not going to a meet with the rest of your team. And it's just about traveling that distance to go to a high school track meet. We have plenty of high school track meets right here in Missouri. We didn't … feel like they should attend a meet in California when the rest of their teammates are competing in Missouri. … I don't feel a national track meet competition is in the best interest of our student-athletes.”

Bubalo stressed that both runners received Division I scholarships to the University of Missouri. “There isn't any reason to go there for exposure's sake,” he said, referring to the Arcadia meet.

Asked whether he thought this decision will set a precedent for the future, Bubalo said it might: “We look at each case individually. It's like our band receiving an invitation to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Ireland. We took that under consideration and that decision was no. We're not sending our band overseas. They can get plenty of competition here in the United States. … As those opportunities for our student-athletes and our students and other activities come up, we will look at them with an open mind. Our foundation of our decision is what's best for our programs, both financially and in terms of what's best for the student-athlete when it comes to missing class time and participating with their teammate and other students.”

MileSplit USA pointed out that Lee's Summit School District, a neighboring district to Blue Springs, allowed anational-level pole vaulter, to compete at the Texas Relays this year.

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