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Swim committee to study mixed-gender issue further

Mixed-gender issue to get further study

It was a simple question about an emotional issue at yesterday’s meeting in Franklin of the MIAA Swim Committee: Norwood’s Will Higgins or Wellesley’s Cynthia Kangos?

Kangos set the record in the 50-yard freestyle at the 1985 Girls’ South swimming sectional. The record stood for 26 years until a boy, Higgins, broke it this past November. Higgins’s performance brought to a head a debate that dogged the swim community all fall: What to do about boys who swim on girls’ teams. And what about the records they set?

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The Swim Committee embraced half of the debate by forming a subcommittee to study the mixed-gender issue. Said committee chairman Ray Grant of Seekonk, “It’s certainly not a new issue for this committee.’’

Grant said a similar subcommittee was formed three years ago and its recommendation was simply to monitor the issue. With the subject again on the front burner, a subcommittee of Grant, tournament directors Pete Foley and Richard Lennon, plus Belmont’s Jim Davis, Monson’s Patrice Dardenne, Northampton’s James Hirtle, Wahconah’s James Conro, and MIAA assistant director Ned Doyle will decide whether more than monitoring is needed after a fall in which Higgins broke a sectional record and Walpole won the 200 freestyle relay with two boys at the same meet.

No boys won a state title, but Methuen’s Scott DelRossi was second in the 50 freestyle at the Division 1 state championship; Higgins was academically ineligible for the state meet.

The subcommittee will report back to the full committee April 12.

But Grant distanced the committee from answering the question of who holds the South Sectional record, echoing a familiar MIAA refrain: The organization in charge of high school sports since 1978 doesn’t keep individual records in any sport. Therefore, Higgins broke the meet record as recorded by the tournament directors; he didn’t set an MIAA record.

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So if the MIAA won’t replace Kangos’s name with Higgins’s, or decide to leave her as the meet record-holder, whose job is it?

“That’s a real good question,’’ said Foley, the retired Weston swim coach and director of the North and South swim meets. “Technically, the meet directors have been the ones who’ve kept the sectional and state meet records. I think what we will have to do is get together with the coaches association and ask them what they want to do. I’ll take the guidance from them.’’

That’s fine with Mike Foley, Pete’s son and the current president of the Massachusetts Swim Coaches Association. Foley coaches the Framingham girls in the fall, the Wayland boys and girls in the winter. Father and son, along with other swim coaches, will discuss the case of Higgins vs. Kangos after the winter season.

At yesterday’s meeting, Foley read a letter from Kangos (now married as Kangos-Baker). Her letter ended with a thought shared by many:

“I am a firm believer that records should be broken. I have held the South Sectional 50 freestyle record for 26 years. That is a very long time. It’s time that that record be broken, but broken by a talented swimmer who is a girl.’’

The MIAA Basketball Committee voted yesterday to extend the Division 4 tournament to Central and Western Massachusetts, starting in 2013-14.

The proposal next goes before the Tournament Management Committee in March. Currently, Division 4 is limited to Eastern Mass. schools.

Boys’ basketball

East Boston 61, Madison Park 59 - Patrick Santos’s steal and layup in the opening seconds set the tone as the 18th-ranked Jets (5-2) handed the Cardinals their first loss in seven games.

BC High 50, Wachusett 29 - Jameilen Jones (13 points), Justin Roberts (12 points), and Jared Collins (10 points) led the Eagles (5-2) to victory.

Latin Academy 64, South Boston 60 - Freshman Ikenna Ndugba scored 19 points and sophomore Devaughn Riley contributed 15 points for the Knights (4-4).

Boston Latin 62, Brookline 57 - Jack Duggan (19 points, 5 steals), Miles Wright (17 points, 6 blocks), and James Adams (16 points, 10 rebounds) led the Wolfpack (8-1) over the 18th-ranked Warriors.

Georgetown 72, North Shore 60 - Senior captain Tyler Wade with 29 points and five steals and junior forward Angel San Quintin contributed 12 points, including 10 points in the fourth quarter for the Royals (3-2).

Girls’ basketball

Andover 53, Central Catholic 42 - Nicole Boudreau had 23 points and four rebounds as the No. 1 Golden Warriors (7-0) toppled the Raiders (3-2).

Franklin 65, Brockton 37 - Junior forward Alicia Qutil had 17 points and senior Catie Thalen contributed 16 points for the Panthers (5-0).

Hanover 35, Cohasset 33 - Sophomore Marie Ribadenyra had 10 points for the Indians.

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