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Playing on the road is a part of high school athletics, but with gas prices rising and expected to be over $4 a gallon next year, athletic directors at Williamstown and Grant County high schools face the daunting task of trying to cope with scheduling and transportation.
Both schools play in districts that require some travel as the 32nd District is comprised of Walton-Verona and Simon Kenton in addition to GCHS and Williamstown. The 8th Region, which all four district schools are members of includes Henry County, Gallatin County, South Oldham, North Oldham, Oldham County, Eminence, Anderson County and Henry County.
The district and region formats make not only for competitive games, but also long bus rides.
The Grant County football team put in quite a few miles last year, traveling to South Oldham (160 miles), Jeffersontown (188 miles) and Western Hills (128 miles).
This season, the Braves will host those three teams and have road trips scheduled to Boyd County, Oldham County, Scott High School and Anderson County.
As for Williamstown, the Demons baseball team will log its share of frequent traveler miles this spring, traveling to Richmond Model (142 miles), Eminence (158 miles), Trimble County (146 miles) and Henry County (148 miles).
"Our teams have to make some long trips, but they are conference games. There's not a whole lot you can do about it," WHS athletic director Todd Dupin said.
Grant County Transportation Director Mark Hudson said teams with smaller rosters take vans rather than buses to save on costs.
Both Dupin and Shipp expect their travel budgets to be altered.
"We have to find a way to pay for it," Shipp said.
Dupin said he is going to take a "wait and see" approach with the fuel costs.
"You can't do much more than that. Our costs could go up and we'll deal with it when and if it happens. Nobody likes it when gas prices are high, but we'll adapt," Dupin said.
While the rising gas prices seem imminent, changes to schedules is considered "drastic," as far as Dupin is concerned.
"That would be a drastic move to adjust schedules so you play more games at home. With the cost of umpires and officials, it is close to what you would spend in traveling so you don't save much money. I would look at where we travel to, but we are nowhere close to being at the degree where we start cutting opponents or games off our schedules," Dupin said.
Shipp also said he isn't considering dropping any games.
"We are going to have to do whatever it takes. We will continue to offer all sports and make every opportunity for our student-athletes," Shipp said.