Centennial High School never has provided boys' swimming and diving as a varsity sport in its 57-year history. Change could be just months away.

A boys' club team started this season in hopes of transitioning to varsity for the 2013-14 school year. The school in Circle Pines already houses a pool -- and there is solid interest. The 28 boys who joined the club team is more than the number on some varsity programs in the Northwest Suburban Conference, said Chip Fechter, the Cougars' girls' varsity swimming coach who is overseeing the boys club.

The only issue is money, said Centennial activities director Brian Hegseth.

"I'm hopeful it will be part of the budgeting process for next year," Hegseth said. "I've been told we'll know more in the spring."

Starting a varsity program costs about $18,000 Fechter said, much of it for coaching and travel. Centennial is the only school in the conference without a boys' swimming and diving team.

If the district budget does not allow for the additional team, self-funding is an option. Centennial's boys' and girls' varsity lacrosse teams are self-funded, Hegseth said. Funds would have to be in place by the start of the 2013-14 school year, Fechter said.

"If it's going to happen, this is the time to do it," Fechter said.

Moving the sport to varsity status would garner even greater interest, Fechter said, adding that the club team was "promoted at the last minute and only at the high school. If we promote it with the seventh- through ninth-graders, our numbers would be even stronger."

Martinek hits milestone

Irondale senior Jack Martinek surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his varsity basketball career last week against Benilde-St. Margaret's. A three-year varsity player, Martinek averages about 25 points per game this season.

Blaine skates to key victory

Blaine junior forward Tyler Cline scored three consecutive goals as the eighth-ranked Bengals rolled to an 8-3 victory Saturday against No. 9 Centennial.

Sweeping the two-game series with the Cougars all but assures Blaine of the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Class 2A, Section 5 playoffs.

David La Vaque • 612-673-7574