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B.C. School Sports hits Mount Sentinel athlete with side out

Myles Christman is caught between a rock and a hard place. — Bruce Fuhr photo

By Bruce Fuhr
The Nelson Daily Sports

There’s a player cruising the gymnasium at Mount Sentinel High School in South Slocan that has become the latest poster boy with what is wrong in B.C. School Sports.

His name is Myles Christman.

The 16-year-old setter for the varsity boy’s squad at Mount Sentinel has been declared ineligible to play volleyball for the Wildcats, without explanation by B.C. High School Sports Eligibility Officer Don Wallace.

 “It’s in the hands of adults and adults are playing games . . . and Myles is a pawn in this game,” Mount Sentinel principal and Cats’ head coach, Glen Campbell told The Nelson Daily from his office at the South Slocan-based school.

“It’s unconscionable to think that the stalling and the hiding behind the rules is a real cost . . . a real human cost here,” Campbell added. “And it’s impacting not only Myles but the other players as well.”

The story goes like this.

Christman, who lives in Christina Lake, attended Grand Forks Secondary last year. However, Grand Forks does not have a varsity boy’s volleyball team.

So in 2010, Christman, who loves playing the net sport, drove to play for Mount Sentinel to play for the Cats.

He was ruled ineligible for post-season play, but did participate during tournaments.

This season Christman decided to board with a family of a player on the Cats. This was identical to what his older brother Tyler did in 2007.

Grand Forks didn’t have a senior boy’s volleyball program. So Tyler Christman attended Mount Sentinel to play for the Wildcats.

In 2007 there was no eligibility problem.

But that was then, and this is now.

In a letter dated September 26, 20110 obtained by The Nelson Daily, from Wallace to Mount Sentinel Athletic Director, Joe Morira, Wallace wrote: “The decision of the Eligibility Officer is that this application is DENIED.”

“The Eligibility Officer did not find this application presented a situation not provided for in the BCSS Eligibility polices. The Eligibility Officer also did not find that the Eligibility Application information presented circumstances that he considers to be unique and would warrant waiving the pertinent membership eligibility rule(s).”

“I’d rather be playing volleyball,” said the 6’2” Grade 11 student. “I feel terrible to see the team out there playing and me having to just sit on the bench . . .. I can still practice but it’s not the same and they’re not doing as well without me.”

An appeal of the BCSS decision was supposed to be filed eight days before a meeting of the school sports board, but Mount Sentinel filed it with just five days left to go and the board is now refusing to hear it.

“We’ve asked for an explanation as to why the precedent of his older brother (Tyler) has not been considered in this case and we haven’t received answers,” Campbell explained.

“Its, “no he can’t play” and “the end . . . door is closed, get on with your season”.

“We’re looking for anybody to get this re-opened.”

When contacted by The Nelson Daily, Wallace said, “it’s in the hands of the lawyer and I’ve been advised not to make a comment.”

The Christman story has been a buzz during tournaments attended by Mount Sentinel. Campbell said players and coaches have thrown total support behind the Wildcats and Myles Christman.

The story has even been shown on a Vancouver television station.
However, BCSS has not budged in their decision.

“What’s really frustrating is (BCSS) really hasn’t given us a reason to not let me play . . . they just said no,” said Christman.

To help deal with the situation, Christman is training with the Selkirk College Men’s team as well as attending Wildcat practices.

However, practice is never the same as experiencing real action.

“It’s not the same as playing games and going to tournaments,” he said.

Despite having the door slammed in their face, Campbell is working the back rooms to at least have an appeal heard by BCSS.

“What we’re trying to do is to get folks who may have an opportunity to impact the original decision, which are (B.C. High School Sports) board members, people in the appeals committee, government officials . . . anyone,” said Campbell, adding the current situation has had a negative affect on the Wildcat players.

“We’re pushing a lot of buttons at this point to try to get someone to really look at this situation with a new set of eyes.”

Mount Sentinel is off to Kamloops Friday to compete in a high school tournament.

Christman will go along for the ride, but will not play.

He does hope that BCSS eventually comes to their senses to let him play the game he so desperately loves.