A partnership that began approximately 15 years ago that has worked extremely well is the Islander Sports Foundation’s (ISF) collaboration with the Coronado Unified School District, as the organizing entity for the Coroando Middle School Sports Program. Over that time, the ISF has run the programs which benefit approximately 250 students for each of the three annual CMS Sports seasons.
The following disclaimer needs to be mentioned. When the ISF took over the CMS Sports Program, I was the Executive Director of the organization and served as CMS Athletic Director for three years. CHS Athletic Directors Sandy Ferguson and later Robin Nixon both spent many hours working to make the facilities of the high school available for CMS Sports. Last week I interviewed Meredith Hinz, who took over the CMS AD job about three years ago and it was interesting to see how the position and the sports offerings have evolved.
Hinz, originally from Long Island, New York, has lived in Coronado for nine years. While in middle school through high school, she played field hockey, basketball, volleyball and track. At Springfield College (Mass.), she played field hockey and majored in Exercise Physiology. “I had been volunteering in various sports and I had children participating at CMS,” Hinz explained. “My daughter Anna Hinz is a senior, a swimmer and water polo player. My daughter Julia Hinz is junior and plays soccer.”
Hinz discussed how role of CMS AD came to her. “I got to know Rob Smith, who was the CMS AD at the time. He was retiring and moving to Maine. He approached me and asked if I would be interested in taking the job. I also have two members of the ISF Board of Directors who work with me and assist with the background leg work in Abby Burke and Jan Rentschler. The current ISF President is Mike Hurlburt.”
The Fall 2019 sports offerings for Coronado Middle School include Baseball for seventh and eighth grade Boys; Boys Beach Volleyball; Co-ed Cross Country; Boy’s Flag Football; Girls Lacrosse; Girls Volleyball; Strength and Speed; and Yoga.
“We offer seven or eight different sports per season, and we have some kids who play all three seasons or just one,” Hinz said. “It depends on the kid and the scheduling. I think Middle School sports provide an opportunity for kids to try sports they haven’t played before, where they can participate in sports with their classmates. On the club level, kids don’t often play with their peers. They get to wear a CMS uniform and play with their friends. We want to grow the kids from Point ‘A’ to Point ‘B,’ teach them teamwork, how to cooperate with other kids. We want them to have an activity they are enjoying and when they walk off the field at the end of the season, they had a good time and really had fun.”
The CMS teams compete in the South Coast Middle School League (SCMSL), a group of 15 schools scattered throughout San Diego County. Hines added, “We also offer non-competitive sports and we have multiple levels in most of the sports. We might have an ‘A’ team working toward the SCMSL playoffs or a ‘C’ and a ‘D’ team competing against other schools, growing and learning at the competition level they are currently at. As an example in Girls Volleyball, one year we went down to the ‘E’ level, but in most sports, we have ‘A’ and ‘B’ levels only. That is due to the field space and gym time we need for some sports. Volleyball as well as track and field have a large volume of participants. Our biggest turnout for Girls is Indoor Volleyball, followed by Soccer. Basketball and beach volleyball are starting to take off for the Girls. For the Boys, basketball is the most popular and then soccer. We have three levels for Boys basketball.”
At this point, you’re wondering how your child can register for the CMS Sports Program, which as you might guess starts with your computer, as Hinz explained. “The first stop is to go to www.IslanderSportsFoundation.com or you can go directly to www.athleticclearance.com, where you either need to register or log in, if you have previously registered on the site. You pick ‘Select the School’ from the drop down menu, which is Coronado Middle School Sports, not Coronado CIF, which is for the high school. Then you select the sports you want to register for. Our medical physical form can be printed, is one page, and a doctor has to sign it. At the end of the registration process, there is a confirmation page that you also print out and sign. There is a $200 participation fee per sport, which can be either be paid online or turned in with the forms to the CMS Front Office. Payment can be by cash or a check made payable to the Islander Sports Foundation. All of this must be done prior to the first day of practice. The CMS Front Office is open now and there is a drop-off box at the front desk. And then people can always each out and contact me. My E-mail address is CMSsportsAD@gmail.com. On Facebook we can be found at Coronado Middle School Sports.”
The enrollment deadline for Fall sports is Sept. 13. Hinz said of the program, “We have student assessments and then we assign players to teams. There are no cuts in CMS sports. The assessments will start Sept. 16 and 17, which will be the first day of practice and then the athletes start working at their level. The earliest games will be played is the last week in September.”
And as is the case with any non-profit organization, volunteers are welcomed, according to Hinz. “We’re always looking for volunteers for all of our sports, even if it can be a few times during the season or consistently. We can always use hands out on the field, so we can provide education and skills to the kids.”
Hinz coaches the Cross Country and Track and Field Teams. In addition, the CMS Coaching roster includes CHS Varsity Head Coaches JD Laaperi from Boys Basketball and Morgan Cummins with veteran youth Coach Scott Meloche for the Baseball team. City of Coronado Golf Professional Brian Smock and members of his staff work with the Co-ed golf team in the winter. For a complete listing of the winter and spring sports offered and other program details, go to www.IslanderSportsFoundation.com.