Tigers to hold first varsity sports practice Monday

Holding the first varsity sports practice in school history, the Beekman Charter School Tigers take the field for spring football practice Monday afternoon at around 3:15 p.m.

Coach Jason Grissom expects approximately 40 players — all of whom are entering grades 9-11 — to suit up for the inaugural workout.

“We have pretty good numbers,” said Grissom, who spent eight years as an assistant at Hamburg (Ark.) before being hired at Beekman in late January.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association accepted Beekman Charter's application for membership during its March 26 meeting, clearing the way for the school to participate in all sports for the 2014-15 school year.

BCS currently enrolls students through the 10th grade. Next year, the school will add the final two grades.

Per LHSAA rules, BCS' athletic squads will serve a probationary year. Though allowed to play a full schedule in all sports, Beekman will not be eligible for postseason play.

After serving the mandatory probationary year, BCS will be placed in a district and granted all the rights and privileges of LHSAA membership.

Fielding junior varsity teams in football, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys track & field, softball and baseball, Beekman competed as an independent during the 2013-14 school year.

Three months into his tenure as the Tigers' coach, Grissom is anxious to see his team in pads for the first time.

“It's a spring practice, so we're not going to go out there and kill each other,” Grissom said, “but we are going to find out who will hit and who won't; who wants to play and who doesn't.

“We'll know a lot more by the middle of next week. Some of these people have never put on pads.”

As a start-up program, Grissom realizes the Tigers will encounter some inevitable growing pains in the days ahead.

“We're literally starting from the ground up,” Grissom said. “We still have some hurdles to clear, but I'm excited.”

One of those hurdles is a shortage of facilities, although progress is being made.

“Hopefully, our weight room will be completed in about two weeks. They're putting up the walls now,” Grissom said. “The field is starting to come along. The grass is starting to fill in. I think everything is starting to fall into place.”

Grissom says the Tigers will conduct nine spring practices (LHSAA rules permit 10 practices), taking Thursday, May 8 off for the school's athletic awards banquet.