by Julie Ann Madden
Trinity Christian, Harris-Lake Park and Clay Central-Everly school districts all want to join the War Eagle Conference, of which Akron-Westfield is a member.
At their Feb. 11 meeting, Grades 7-12 Principal Derek Briggs explained nine of the 11 school districts in the War Eagle Conference had to approve an addition before a school district would be allowed to participate.
Trinity Christian has asked the last three years to join and been denied, said Briggs. However, with Gehlen Catholic and Spalding Catholic school districts’ consolidation effective July 1, the rationale was to let Trinity Christian in because it wouldn’t affect the athletic schedules nor cause a breach of contract with game officials.
Board Member Josh Martinsen made the motion to add Trinity Christian to the conference, and Board Member Deb Jordt seconded it. The vote was unanimous, 6-0 with Board Member Nick Schoenfelder absent.
School officials were also recommending to let Harris-Lake Park join the conference in Fall 2014.
This would give school administrators and athletic directors time to create a game schedule.
School officials have suggested creating two pods of different schools within the conference based on schools’ proximity to one another. Then the districts would play the closest districts twice a season and play the farthest district once every other year.
With this conference change, Hinton and Harris-Lake Park are the farthest distance a part.
Superintendents had also requested games between schools great distances apart be held at the end of the week on Friday evenings and not during the school week.
Board Member Roger Oetken wanted assurance that A-W student athletes playing games far away would be kept to a minimum. He noted baseball games often run late into the evening.
School officials were working on this, said Briggs, adding Harris-Lake Park is landlocked and if school officials in the conference didn’t let the district join, state officials could make the decision to do so anyway.
“Unfortunately, this travel will continue to be an issue as schools combine,” said Oetken.
Board Member Jodi Thompson made the motion to add Harris-Lake Park and Martinsen seconded it. The vote was unanimous.
According to Briggs, the recommendation was to deny Clay Central-Everly School District into the War Eagle Conference.
This school district doesn’t have all the athletic offerings the current school districts in the conference have. In addition, Clay Central-Everly has applied to join another conference with closer proximity to them.
Jordt made the motion to deny admission to the conference, and Thompson seconded it. The vote was unanimous.
After each school board has voted, then the superintendents and athletic directors will meet to create a schedule. Briggs will bring the schedule back to the board.
School districts in the War Eagle Conference are Akron-Westfield, Gehlen Catholic, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, Hinton, Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn, Remsen-St. Mary’s, Remsen Union, South O’Brien, Spalding Catholic, Unity Christian and West Sioux.