ELLICOTTVILLE—Ellicottville Central School athletic director Karl Schwartz has been guiding the Eagles for just over a decade, and is looking forward to another solid school year that starts with four fall season teams that have several West Valley student-athletes participating.
The West Valley and Ellicottville school athletic programs became one beginning in the fall of 2015, when the Ellicottville School Board approved a four-year agreement between the two districts through the 2018-19 school year.
All four fall teams compete in the Chautauqua Cattaraugus Athletic Association that merged the two counties with 33 schools and is subsequently broken down into a first or second division. Depending upon the total amount of teams in a particular sport, they are then potentially subdivided even further by east, west or south. The lone exception is football which competes at Class D with just a handful of schools.
“We’re fortunate to have veteran coaches here,” Schwartz said. “While our enrollment numbers are down for this year, they will be increasing over the next few.”
The divisional and class breakdowns are determined by the incoming enrollment numbers of freshmen through juniors – commonly referred to as BEDS numbers – where ECS is at a 125 BEDS number for this season, while West Valley hovers at around 50. West Valley will have participants in the two ECS girls teams this fall, but none with either of the boys teams.
Ellicottville’s football program is officially under the guise of Franklinville and continues to do well in Class D competition competing as the Titans, while Schwartz believes the boys soccer team is a very young and skilled team with a pretty competitive schedule.
The only program to have won a state title during Schwartz’s tenure as AD was the girls volleyball team in 2012. That team lost one set in their season-opener before taking that match 3-1 and going on to win the rest of its matches the rest of the year 3-0.
“In many people’s eyes, that may have been the greatest Ellicottville sports team ever. Game officials that year often commented on how they could’ve beaten college teams. It was a perfect storm for Ellicottville,” Schwartz said and adding that many on that team went on to play college and one at the D-I level.
This year the girls volleyball team will be led by a Wildcat.
“Our returning senior will make the biggest impact on the girls volleyball team and is from West Valley, Mackenzie Czapla,” the ECS athletic director said.
Schwartz said the volleyball program is in the best of hands with Mary Neilon, who has more than 25 years of experience coaching volleyball, and he believes that Portville might be the favorite to win the regular season title as they drop from the C-Division to D for the regular season, but then will move back up for playoffs that gives the Eagles a good shot of capturing a sectional playoff title.
Schwartz called his girls soccer team the school’s flagship team and expects them to do very well with also a good shot at a sectional title.
Although the AD didn’t have a roster in front of him, he believes there are more West Valley girls competing in volleyball than soccer, although he did think the numbers were similar with a handful at each sport.
Schedules for ECS fall athletics can be found under the athletics tab from the school’s website at: http://ellicottvillecentral.com/.