Greenfield — The next time Whitnall wrestlers step onto the mat, it may be as part of a combined team with wrestlers from Greendale High School.
The Whitnall School Board decided last week it will pursue the many approvals needed to combine its wrestling program with Greendale's.
Greendale, which has seen a slide in participation in its wrestling program, asked to combine with Whitnall, Scott Bruening, Whitnall athletic and activities director, reported to the Whitnall School Board.
"Our numbers are kind of going down as well," he said. Three years ago, Whitnall's wrestling program had 37 students; it had 33 this year and is projecting 29 for the 2014-15 school year, he said.
Greendale's program is much smaller with 12 wrestlers three years ago, 17 this year and six expected next year.
Combining would help both programs, Bruening said, and would bring money in from Greendale to reduce wrestling program operating costs. Greendale would pay for one of the four wrestling coaches and would pay Whitnall's athletic and activity fee, he added.
Combining could save $4,700, which Bruening called "relatively substantial."
Even so, School Board member Eileen Valaitis worried that Whitnall wrestlers might be bumped from the team.
"We're doing a disservice to some of our students," she said.
"There might be a displacement of varsity athletes," Bruening acknowledged. But there would be a no-cut policy for a time, he said.
The hope is for the plan to go into effect this fall. But before that, approvals must be obtained from the WIAA, Woodland Conference schools and others.
The Whitnall Board approved a potential two-year agreement with Greendale.