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ALPINE BOARD BALKS AT ELIGIBILITY DECISION

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To the best of their recollections, current members of the Alpine School Board have never ruled on matters of transferring athletic eligibility. They're not likely to do so in the future either.

Recent changes in the bylaws for the Utah High School Activities Association allow local school boards to transfer athletic eligibility between schools in the same district, if "compelling reasons" exist. But when parents of an Orem girl recently came to the board requesting action, members didn't seem too willing to set a precedent in their district.In its recent public information meeting, the Alpine School Board voted 3-1 to not take action on a transfer request from Steven and Susan Sorensen on behalf of their daughter, Adrienne.

The Sorensens said the girl, who was a junior at Mountain View High School, had been pressured to run beyond her endurance while on that school's girls cross-country team, and that she was unfairly denied the opportunity to run at a state championship meet. Consequently, her parents requested the board to transfer her athletic eligibility to Orem High.

"The board has the power to transfer her eligibility, and it's definitely in Adrienne's best interest," Steven Sorensen said. "There are rumors circulating at both schools."

According to Steven Sorensen, a Mountain View instructor pushed his daughter to compete in three races at a state-level competition last year, leading to a leg injury and problems between the family and the coach. Though school administrators attempted to resolve the differences, this fall's cross-country season convinced the Sor-en-sens that the situation was "the same, if not worse."

District officials, though, said the Sorensens have other avenues open to them.

The normal appeals process would take the Sorensens to the Utah High School Activities Association's local board of managers, made up of principals from the local district; to the hardship or transfer committee; or to the group's board of trustees, which includes members of school districts throughout the state as well as several district superintendents.

The activities association does not take athletic transfers lightly, fearing that schools could "stockpile" quality athletes.

"It's my feeling that the Sorensens should take this matter through the high school association until they're satisfied or have exhausted all their options," School Board President Ken Sor-en-son said. "(The Alpine board) won't hear this until all other appeals have been heard."

Board member Linda Campbell, who voted against the board's measure, said she wished the matter could have been resolved before it ever got out of the school. However, she also said she felt the board could handle such decisions.

The Sorensens brought the matter before the School Board, effectively circumventing the High School Activities Association, because they were concerned about their daughter's eligibility to run in an out-of-state competition in early December.

However, she will be able to run in that competition because it does not require her to have a school athletic affiliation to run.