BOWIE — It may involve only three athletes in two or three sports, but the Bowie High School athletic programs have decided to merge with the Willcox High School Cowboys, splitting from the San Simon Longhorns for the upcoming 2019-20 school year.

“I understand Bowie was paying half of the team fees to be combined with the (San Simon school sports),” Tammy Hall, Willcox High athletic director, said, “but here the price (for them to compete) will be on a per-athlete basis.”

Bowie Schools Superintendent Wendy Conger said her school’s small size (approximately 18 high school students) made the previous merger with San Simon sports unworkable.

“The rivalry seemed to get in the way and impede what was best for our kids,” she said. “Willcox was able to offer financial opportunities to meet our small rural budget needs.”

Travel expenses will be nearly the same as Bowie is located nearly halfway between Willcox and San Simon in the northern Cochise County corridor connected by Interstate 10.

Conger praised Hall and the Willcox district for coming to their aid.

“Mrs. Hall is amazing and we’re excited about this,” Conger said. “The kids realize the competition for a team spot will be stiffer and it will help them in their ability to improve their skills. Change is good.”

“We’re glad to help them out and make it work out for their kids in athletics,” Hall said.

“A lot of our kids are ranchers and farmers anyway,” Conger said, “so they’re looking forward to being Cowboys.”

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