GHS to leave NCIC

Amy Boldt

Changes are coming for Geneseo High School and its affiliation with the North Central Illinois Conference (NCIC), as the Leafs and the rest of the teams in the Reagan Division are shopping around for a new place to call home.

As of June 4, during a meeting between NCIC athletic directors and principals, it was decided to separate the conference, with the Reagan Division leaving the NCIC. The Reagan Division is comprised of Dixon, Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Morris, Ottawa, Sterling and Streator.

Pending Geneseo High?School board approval at its June 11 meeting, the Maple Leafs will join the other Reagan Division schools in leaving the NCIC.

If the board approves the proposal, the next step for Geneseo and the rest of the Reagan Division will be to meet with officials from the Western?Sun Conference on June 15 to finalize details for a new conference.

If everything goes through, the Reagan teams of the NCIC, along with the Western Sun Conference would join together and form a 12-team conference. The members of the Western Sun Conference include DeKalb, Sycamore, Yorkville, Rochelle and Maple Park Kaneland.

“When we found out Kewanee was leaving the NCIC, we had numerous meetings on what the 2010 conference should look like,” said Geneseo High School athletic director, Travis Mackey. “Some thought the natural progress would be to balance out the sides of the conference, while another proposal was to keep the conference at five schools and seven schools, and the Lincoln Division would search for schools to enter its side.

“What Geneseo should feel good about is the Lincoln side felt like we would dominate athletics on that side. We’ve had a great relationship with our side of the conference, and we didn’t want to move, but according to the bylaws the move could be made. The NCIC voted to stay at five and seven teams, and that’s when we started looking to expand.”

Mackey stated that by joining the teams from the Western?Sun Conference, it will allow all teams to benefit from crossover games within the conference, which would relieve some scheduling issues.

“The Lincoln Division was not interested in crossover games, so the Western Sun Conference is a good fit,” said Mackey.

One potential concern of competing against teams in the Western Sun Conference is travel, especially for athletes on school nights.

“For the spring sports, we are looking to schedule weekend games, doubleheaders and maybe finding a site in between to cut down on the travel,” said Mackey. “However, we are not looking to crossover with the whole conference, maybe only two or three games. We always have to look at the transportation issues.”

Another change that will come with this switchover will be for track and field, cross country, wrestling, tennis and golf, all 12 teams will combine together to create one big conference, said Mackey.

“We are going to see very good competition and very good talent,” said Mackey. “It will be good for us, and everyone on the Reagan side is on board.”

The proposed new conference would include in Division A: Dixon, Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Sterling and Streator. Division B would include: DeKalb, Maple Park?Kaneland, Morris, Rochelle, Sycamore and Yorkville.

“It is a big plus (to stay with the Reagan teams),” said Mackey. “The Reagan side works well together, and we are a strong conference. We compete well against each other, but also cheer for each other in the postseason. All the teams show great sportsmanship, and it was a group effort to leave.”

Please see next week’s Geneseo Republic for the school board’s decision.