I’ve read this article written by Bob Huelsman about the future of the Cross County Conference, and I wanted to add my take to a possible fall of a local conference. As someone who occasionally watches Twin Valley South sports, this will be very important for not only the West Alexandria Panthers, but for all the high schools in the CCC.
From the article, some of the old Southwestern Rivers Conference (I think they were gone by 2001, not sure honestly) schools want to form a new conference. That includes Covington, Miami East, and Bethel, which are the eastern schools in the CCC, and a bit of a drive if you hail from Preble County (especially National Trail, considering they’re next door to Indiana.) It also includes Bradford, which is the northern most CCC school, and possibly Arcanum, near the heart of it all.
The CCC has been around since the 1978-1979 school year. Arcanum, Ansonia, and Bethel were original members, while Covington joined in 1990 and Miami East in 2006.
Something that has triggered these talks (other than the economy reasons) has been the football conference play. The CCC schools that do field a team (Franklin-Monroe, Tri-Village, and Newton in Miami County do not field these teams) play nine conference games, leaving one game for non-conference play. For TVS, that game has usually been against nearby New Lebanon Dixie. Usually, you will have around three-five non-conference games (depends on which conference.)
The writer in the article mentions some possibilities for the other schools should the conference break apart. Huelsman sees the Southwestern Buckeye League picking up Twin Valley South, Tri-County North, and National Trail.
Let’s say that does happen. That puts three more schools into the SWBL from Preble County, joining Eaton and Preble Shawnee (It also puts all five Preble County schools in a conference, too.) This would give the SWBL 17 members, giving either division of the conference one more than the other (unless the SWBL wanted to add another school for 18, and split the division up into three divisions.)
The 1998 Twin Valley South Panthers, who won the Cross County Conference that season.
For Twin Valley South, it sets up good, close rivalries with Valley View, Brookville, Dixie, Preble Shawnee, and Eaton in the conference (not necessarily in the same division of the SWBL.) It would also keep the State Route 503 rivalry with Tri-County North.
However, what about the other schools? The farthest school to the east is Waynesville, the last school district to the east before hitting Clinton County, followed by Bellbrook in western Greene County. To the south would be Monroe, and to the north would be Milton-Union in southwest Miami County. The western most school would be National Trail in the New Paris area, near Richmond, Indiana. So you now have a huge conference stretching from nearby Richmond to Wilmington. That’s a span of six counties.
How would those schools do in the SWBL? According to this list by the OHSAA, Twin Valley South has 253 students (136/117 boys/girls); Tri-County North 257 (119/138); and National Trail with 263 (139/124). Compared to current SWBL schools, Valley View has 469 students (220/249); Eaton 524 (290/234); Dixie 291 (158/133); Brookville 374 (211/163); and Preble Shawnee with 352 (176/176.) So if this was to happen, Twin Valley South and Tri-County North would be the smallest schools in the SWBL. If the conference spread their divisions for smallest, medium, and largest schools, there could be a good mix for the conference and schools.
I’m not saying this happens, as it’s more of a what-if. The Cross County Conference might survive and this idea of a new conference might flop. I liked the article and thought it was interesting to think about the future in West Alex and in Ohio. If the rest of the members can’t see eye to eye, we might see an old conference fall and a new one pop up.
Sources of information from the Press Pros Magazine and the Ohio High School Athletic Association. The 1998 TVS picture is from CCCBasketball.com.
Until next time,