Crosspoint programs weather the storm

Crosspoint Academy boys basketball coach Dave Kerkhoff leads his players into prayer following practice Tuesday. The Bremerton private Christian school continues to run its athletic programs as the weakened economy takes its toll. - Mike Baldwin/staff photo
Crosspoint Academy boys basketball coach Dave Kerkhoff leads his players into prayer following practice Tuesday. The Bremerton private Christian school continues to run its athletic programs as the weakened economy takes its toll.
— image credit: Mike Baldwin/staff photo

Like many others, Crosspoint Academy boys basketball coach Dave Kerkhoff is having to do more with less.

“I’ve talked with tons of people who would like to be here, from my church and the community, but they just can’t afford it anymore,” Kerkhoff said.

Crosspoint, a Christian private school in Bremerton, formerly known as King’s West School, is hurting in its own way during the economic downturn. Kerkhoff said a few of his players are working after school to support their education as parents struggle with the financial downturn.

“The economy is just tearing us up,” said Kerkhoff, who has coached at the school for seven years.

The school offers grades kindergarten through 12, so most upperclassmen are accustomed to seeing the same faces until graduation. But as the Class 2B program loses athletes to public schools, it’s become harder to sustain a program.

“In most households, money for coming here is maybe something they could cut out,” he added. “So in some cases, parents just put their kids in public school.”

Crosspoint’s current tuition rates for the 2010-2011 school year are $9,430 for grades 9-12 and $9,360 for grades 7-8. The school charges $7,530 for grades 4-6. Grades 1-3 are listed at $6,940 per year. Kindergarten rates are listed at $6,350.

But for the athletes who remain, including those who studied at Crosspoint since kindergarten, they say they appreciate the tight-knit school community and its preaching of Christian faith.

Crosspoint Athletic Director Rick Nohmy said the weak economy has limited the athletic offerings and has also affected player turnout.

Last season, the school failed to field a girls soccer team when a turnout of five girls failed to meet Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) rules. The school met WIAA regulations this season when eight girls competed for the soccer team.

Nohmy has spent 17 years at Crosspoint, including three as an athletic director, and said it was the second time in his tenure that the school failed to field a team. The other instance was about five years ago when the fastpitch program was cut due to lack of interest, Nohmy said.

Crosspoint girls basketball co-head coach Kathy Felix encountered her own share of setbacks. Felix is entering her second season with the Warriors, who lost three starters to public schools last season. The team also lost three incoming freshmen who left for financial reasons, Felix said.

Player turnout rates dictate the fate of a junior varsity team. The school needs to meet WIAA rules for its junior varsity to compete, or else all ninth through 12th grade athletes are merged with the varsity roster, an obstacle for Crosspoint coaches, Felix said.

“It makes it challenging when you have a lot of players on the bench that aren’t seeing a lot of playing time, yet next year, when the seniors are gone, they’re expected to come in and play when they don’t have a lot of experience,” she said.

The girls basketball program has 11 athletes from ninth to 12th grade, and three eighth-graders who will fill out the junior varsity team this season. Felix said this season is one of the few years the program sustained a junior varsity team.

Girls basketball co-head coach Ron Barton agreed with Felix’s views regarding the financial hurdles of playing sports at Crosspoint. Barton, who enters his third year at Crosspoint, said he’s excited for the program’s direction, but that it’s difficult to watch kids leave the school.

“We have a strong team, but to see them grow, then not to have them here is difficult,” he said. “But it’s not because they didn’t want to come here and play, it’s the economics of the situation.”

Senior girls basketball player Breyenne Mosey attended Crosspoint since kindergarten, and said the school’s emphasis on the Christian faith attracted her family to the school. Her two older sisters, Chloe and Michelle, also attended Crosspoint. Despite the expenses of attending a private school, Mosey said the school is unique on a spiritual level.

“The school relates basketball and God together,” she said. “You’re working together and bonding together, so you’re more like a family.”

Senior boys basketball player Austin Hewitt also attended Crosspoint since kindergarten, and said he’s thought about leaving to play basketball for a public school.

“I always thought about it, but it’s one of those things where I just keep going here, knowing the same guys,” he said. “A lot of us have played for a while together. I love the Christian atmosphere because we’re able to pray and meet with coaches outside and during classes.”

Josh Kreifels, a senior on the Crosspoint boys basketball team, also plays baseball for Central Kitsap High School. Since Crosspoint does not offer a baseball program, the school allows Kreifels to participate for a public school team in the district boundaries of his home. Kreifels said he enjoys the close-knit community at Crosspoint, and isn’t sure if he would leave to play prep basketball at Central Kitsap.

“I’ve been here since kindergarten, so I don’t know if I would play basketball at a public school if given the opportunity,” he said. “You know everyone who goes here and everything about them, so it’s one big family.”

Kerkhoff said he’s excited for the upcoming basketball season, and the program will handle its economic obstacles with help from its Christian faith. Kerkhoff, who teaches history and psychology at Crosspoint, said he admires his players’ commitment by working to pay for tuition, and remain close to the academy.

“That’s a lot of pressure on a high school kid to work, too,” he said. “They don’t want to lose that relationship, and you’ve got to give them a lot of credit.”

Paying to play

Students are charged $85 per sport at the high school level for Crosspoint.

Officials for soccer, volleyball and basketball cost between $8,000-$10,000 per year, Nohmy said. Transportation costs about $18,000-$20,000 per year, depending on the amount of away games, he added.

Nohmy also said about 60 to 65 percent of the student body participates in at least one or more sports per year. Crosspoint’s total student body count for kindergarten through 12th grade is 240.

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