The Pittsfield School Committee voted unanimously to turn Taconic High School into a full vocational school. The demand is there for this type of school for local students, and if you ever tried to get a plumber, contractor, or any kind of tradesperson to your house over the past couple of years, you know we can use as many people trained in these fields as possible.
But as the high school sports play-by-play guy at PCTV, I’m probably one of the few who is considering this from an athletics perspective. It has not been talked about but make no mistake, this is going to cause dramatic changes to the local sports scene over the next couple of years.
I asked Superintendent Joe Curtis back in December if he had stats for how many students in athletics at Taconic were participating in vocational programs. He said the district does not have easy access to that information. He also said, “I am not sure (at this point) how it will affect the athletic program immediately because all current Taconic students will be allowed to stay until they graduate.” But, you can make an argument that these changes are already happening.
While the Pittsfield Girls Basketball has put together a large and talented underclass participating in junior varsity, Taconic doesn’t have enough players to field a JV team at all. This hasn’t affected the juggernaut that is Taconic Boys basketball yet, but it’s safe to assume that it will in the next couple of seasons.
While high school athletics is fun for some, the most talented in our area use athletics to help them get to college, and we have seen plenty of athletes who have made that leap. Realistically, this will affect Taconic’s athletic programs, but it’s not all bad news.
While the city rivalry that we have grown to love will probably become less competitive, we could be at the beginning of Pittsfield High becoming a juggernaut that will be feared statewide in several sports.
While calling games, I sat back and thought, “can you imagine if these athletes all played on one team?” Looking at the rosters for Taconic and Pittsfield in basketball this season, if they were forced to become one squad representing the city, the talent level is just off the charts for both boys and girls.
But I’m really looking forward to seeing, and you should be too, the potential merging of the baseball talent in Pittsfield to playing on one team.
This past summer our local 12-year-olds came within a whisper of representing the state of Massachusetts in the Little League World Series. At roughly the same time, our local 13-year-olds dominated the rest of the continental United States at the Babe Ruth World Series.
With most of these players on a college prep track, it would make sense for them to take their talents to East St. These kids have already been tested at a state and national level and they have passed with flying colors.
That doesn’t even mention the talent already within the Pittsfield Public Schools. Could you imagine Pittsfield baseball rolling into the MIAA tournament with D1 commits Matt Lee and Cam Sime as your starting pitchers? With the change at Taconic High School, we may not have to imagine what a Pittsfield Superteam would look like any longer.