District lines prevent Garden Plain student athlete from competing in soccer

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – A bill that’s passed in Kansas’ Senate would allow Kansas high school students to attend school outside of the district in which they live. For now, restrictions are blocking a Garden Plain High School student athlete from competing on a soccer team.

Garden Plain High School junior Sydney Puetz is a 4.0 student and a star, multi-sport athlete. She’s decided to pay soccer to raise her chances of getting into her dream school, but Garden Plain doesn’t offer soccer and one school at which she could play lies outside the district lines. Puetz’s family said the Renwick school district has refused to let her play at that other school.

Puetz’s dream is to go to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to become a field surgeon. The acceptance rate is only 8.6 percent. And when it comes to scholarships for athletes, the junior season is widely considered the most important season for college recruitment.

“This is her future. I mean, it’s very important. I mean, if you know Sydney… She s’s getting a 4.0, she has a 30 on a composite ACT, she’s contacting coaches and she’s contacting schools,” said Puetz’s mother Karie Puetz.

Karie said her daughter has always loved soccer and felt it would help her chances of getting into West Point. Without having a team to play for at Garden Plain, Puetz found a team that would take her on as a cooperative player, Wichita Independent. Puetz filled out the proper paperwork and got approval from the Kansas State High School Activities Association. But she hit a roadblock. Her own school district refused to give an okay, arguing that if one student can play outside district lines, more would want to do the same.

Puetz even made a plea to the school board to allow her to play. However, the school had a special meeting weeks later regarding the decision. Karie Puetz said she didn’t know that meeting even happened. She expressed frustration that an opportunity didn’t come through for dialogue with the board.

Eyewitness News reached out to the administration in Garden Plain, but as of late Monday night, haven’t heard back. Puetz and her family say the process has been difficult, but they still have hope for the standout high school junior to reach her goals.

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