Lompoc Valley Baptist School has its sights on expansion — both enrollment and the size of its campus — and as part of that vision is adding new sports programs which are expected to further both.
Eight new high school sports teams will compete in the CIF Southern Section during the 2019-20 scholastic year for the private school located in Lompoc’s east side — cross country for boys and girls and girls volleyball in the fall, boys and girls basketball in the winter and then track and field for boys and girls and girls softball for the spring.
“The kids who are involved in this program this year at the start of it now may be involved with something big (in the future). The church is actively looking for a larger property to build a school and a larger church because we’re bulging out of the seams here. We’ll definitely need more space,” said Paul Knutson, coach of the girls teams, who has a background as a track and field coach at San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande high schools.
The school, which opened in 2012 and has an enrollment of 50 students, sits between the cross streets of North A and B Streets on College Avenue heading toward River Park. It has no indoor gym or large field, and the single building is comprised of a chapel, cafeteria and school classrooms.
The sports teams, though, bring the likelihood of new faces on campus.
“We will take new students for the fall,” said Principal Aaron Snyder, who graduated from Lompoc High and has served as principal of LVBS for one month.
Snyder said the school's growth target for the first year is 10 students, growing enrollment from 50 to 60, and is aiming for between six and seven available players on its basketball teams and 10 to 11 for the softball team, with one or two substitute plays for both sports.
Claudia Terrones has a résumé filled with league championships, CIF playoff appearances and state championship runs as a decorated coach and athlete.
“It’s exciting to know that we can offer this for our students and give them more opportunities to be involved with sports,” Snyder said. “I’ve been involved with sports my whole life as it is. I enjoy the camaraderie, the friends you make and a lot of life lessons they teach you.”
There are, though, obstacles facing the school, which Athletic Director Zach Fridrich hopes can be addressed before the fall semester starts.
“Sometime early to mid-summer (around July) is when we want to get settled,” Fridrich said.
The school needs to complete an agreement with the Lompoc Unified School District for a potential home basketball site at Lompoc Valley Middle School or agree to use the city’s Boys and Girls club gym. The Lompoc Recreation Center gym is another possibility, Fridrich and Knutson said. They're also working to finalize a permanent home site for softball games, and lastly, set a cap on enrollment.
The school also plans to launch an Independent Study Program (ISP) on the campus – which allows home-schooled students to participate in Hawks athletics.
Girls basketball already has a busy June on tap.
There’s a new crop of sports teams from the Lompoc Valley that will compete in the CIF Southern Section soon. And they represent a fast-growing private school on Lompoc’s east side. Lompoc Valley Baptist School announced that CIF has approved eight sports programs for high school competition effective 2019-2020. Three of the sports are offered for both boys and girls on the campus.
“The girls basketball team are signed up to play at Santa Maria High School for basketball summer league. That will be our first action,” said Knutson, who noted that the league is for junior varsity programs and small schools and includes Valley Christian Academy in Santa Maria.
Along with overseeing the sports programs, Fridrich will help coach the boys teams, particularly cross country and track and field.
Snyder said uniforms for home and away contests will be developed over the summer, and the school will use its two white buses with the words “Lompoc Valley Baptist School” emblazoned in green for transportation.
“We’re trying to get more kids. We want the kids to help with the spirit and heart of the school. We want kids to come in to be exulted in Christ and serve others,” Fridrich said.