What are the Junior Lions?

Kaelyn Bates, Reporter

  When you think of high school sports, basketball, wrestling and baseball instantly come to mind. However, through the Junior Lions program, these sports are open for kids to play, as Mountain View Mountain Lions. These sports (except baseball, since 2018) allow kids aged 4-14 to participate within our scope of programs. Playing as a Junior Lion gives “better chemistry” with your teammates going into high school, and allows you to be “better bonded together.”

   The younger athletes, while called Junior Lions, can come from anywhere, at least with wrestling. “It’s kind of in-open, when you’re younger you don’t necessarily know where you’re going to school. Most of them are in our area.”  Teacher and coach for Mountain View, Scott Barker, said. “But we’ve had kids from Windsor, Wellington, Fort-Collins, really from all over the place.” 

    Basketball and baseball, however, are generally local kids, and from there competed with kids from other places. Another teacher and baseball coach for Mountain View, Brian Smela said, “It was all home-ground.” The kids are boys and girls for basketball and Wrestling, pre-high school.

    Randy Felton, who used to be one of the coaches for Mountain View’s Baseball team, was “the main one” who “really engineered and put [baseball] together,” says Brian Smela, a baseball coach and teacher here at Mountain View says.  

   There were tryouts, just like there still is with basketball, and those who made the team after tryouts would have to pay a certain amount. Baseball prices could get very expensive for the average family. 

    “It definitely had a cost, because of uniforms and tournaments…there were other things in there too, that they had to pay for,” Smela said. “They just took that total cost, and divided it by the number of players on the team.”

    With wrestling, the amount is a certain $200 per child. For both sports, the price includes the uniform (or singlet), games and tournaments. Junior Lion Basketball expenses cover the same needs. 

    All Junior Lion sports offered at Mountain View are made to give kids advantages. Even if the price is too expensive, playing is still possible because there are scholarship offers and ways coaches can help reduce the price.

    With all this information, you might be wondering: for those kids, was it really worth it? Did they really get one step ahead in their game? “There was no better chance that just because you were on that team that meant that you were going to get preferential treatment,” Smela said. “But naturally, if you were doing the same sorts of skills and team activity that we were doing at the high school, and you were already used to it by the time you got here, that would probably give you a little more of an advantage.”