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MANSFIELD – St. Peter's High School Athletic Department announced on Friday a one-year hiatus of the Girls Basketball program and the launch of a boys and girls bowling team.

The girls basketball team started with nine players this year, but injuries and a non-school related issue put the numbers too low to have a successful program this school year.

“It all came down to numbers,” said Spartans' athletic director David Miller. “Coach Shoulders and I have been working to encourage more of our girls to play basketball, but the desire to play is not there.”

"I'm heartbroken for our girls, especially for our senior Julia Rizzo. I want our girls to be successful on the court, and playing with such small numbers would not have set them up for success," said St. Peter's girls basketball coach Roy Shoulders. "Our program has one of the proudest traditions in the State of Ohio, so it’s going to be very tough to watch from the sidelines this year.”

Two Spartans will play for Mansfield Senior this year since they reside in the Mansfield City Schools District.

Shoulders said he was trying to focus on how this setback can become an opportunity for the basketball program. The school is fielding a junior high team this season and is being led by Shoulder’s assistant coach, Darryl Uhde.

Uhde, also led the Spartans for several seasons and took teams to the state tournament in Columbus.

They are also looking to restart summer basketball camps and find ways to encourage students at the elementary school to play.

“Basketball provides young women with so many life skills that will help carry them through many of life’s challenges,” Shoulders said. “If a young lady has a desire to play basketball, there is a place for her at St. Peter’s."

The Spartans also announced the launch of both a boys and girls bowling team this year. Interest in bowling has increased over the past several seasons, with students from St. Peter’s playing for Mansfield Senior and Lexington.

Last year, Zoe Blank advanced to the district bowling tournament for the Tygers.

“As a new sport, the teams are limited in the number of players and will only complete in a few matches,” Miller said. “We fully anticipate growing that program with varsity and JV squads next year.”

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