Ogemaw Heights tentatively accepted into new sports conference
WEST BRANCH — With the Northeast Michigan Conference gradually dissolving over the last year, many schools in the league have been searching for a new conference and Ogemaw Heights might have found a new home — the Big North Conference.
The Big North is currently comprised of Gaylord, Cadillac, Alpena, Petoskey, Traverse City West and Traverse City Central. OHHS, if fully approved, would start its Big North participation in the fall of 2011.
“Their (existing conference teams) principals and athletic directors have approved us in. The schools boards still have to approve us,” said Ogemaw Heights Athletic Director Andrew Pratley.
If admitted into the league, OHHS would go from one of the biggest schools in its league to one of the smallest.
“Petoskey, Gaylord and Cadillac are all schools that are within 200 and 25o students of us. We’d be the smallest,” Pratley said. “The other three (Alpena, TCC and TCW) would be much larger districts.
“By no means is this a perfect fit for OHHS,” he added. “It became the only option. … We looked into the Saginaw Valley League and obviously we looked at starting a league.”
When it came to the SVL, Pratley said that since those schools aren’t used to traveling as much as Northern Michigan schools, that prospect didn’t gather much momentum. That left OHHS, Pratley said, with the Big North Conference or independence after other schools couldn’t be found to show an interest in starting a league with OHHS.
He said independence would probably lead to even greater travel times and distances.
“It’s important for us to be in a league,” Pratley said, adding some of the schools in the Big North are usually on OHHS’ schedule, anyways. “We’re used to going to Gaylord. We’re used to traveling to Alpena and Cadillac.”
The 2010-11 school year will be the last for the NEMC, and it will include only four teams — OHHS, Bay City John Glenn, Pinconning and Standish-Sterling.