When four freshmen suited up for the Booneville Lady Bearcats Tuesday night it marked a program first but athletic director Josh Walker characterized the decision to allow freshmen to play on the senior high team as an exception to a policy rather than a revision.
Leigh Swint became the first freshman to score for a Booneville senior high girls team and Karmen Kent became the second.
Before the game with Perryville ended they had combined for 14 points and the Lady Cats won 59-58.
Still current eighth grade players and younger need not prepare to make a similar jump because, Walker said, the school board approved changed was for this year only and necessitated by a small roster that, with injuries and foul issues, has left the team with only four available players on multiple occasions this season.
Freshmen track athletes are currently permitted to move up to the senior high squad once the junior high season ends.
The difference is track practices are conducted after school, Walker said.
Freshmen baseball and softball players are also permitted to play on the school’s varsity teams in those sports but the difference there is that there is no junior high equivalent of the sport.
While freshmen do typically suit up in football, and even practice with the team once the junior high season ends, they are not permitted to take part in game action.
The last freshman to play in a senior high game was in 1989.
Freshmen volleyball and basketball players, with the exception of the girls this season, are not permitted to move to the senior high level until they are sophomores.