Milton-Union football coach Bret Pearce talks about returning for the second term as the Bulldogs coach at preseason practice on Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

New eight-team high school athletic conference to debut in two years

Members schools from four area conferences will make up new league

A new eight-school athletic conference consisting of select schools from the Cross County Conference, Southwestern Buckeye League, Metro Buckeye Conference and Northwest Central Conference will begin play with the 2021-2022 school year, it was announced Monday.

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Bethel, Covington and Miami East from the CCC, Milton-Union and Northridge from the SWBL, Troy Christian from the MBC and Lehman Catholic and Riverside from the NWCC will form the new conference. A name has yet to be determined, but one could be announced after the Conference Board of Control meeting on May 15.

Former Covington athletic director Roger Craft will serve as the league commissioner.

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“It’s going to be a highly competitive league, for sure, in all sports,” Milton-Union athletic director Mark Lane said. “First and foremost, this is something our community has wanted. It fits us well and it’s going to be very good for our kids and our school district. That’s by far the best thing about it.

“These are communities that our community identifies with. We already have relationships with them just because of location. That bodes well for developing rivalries and great relationships on the the competitive field.”

Each school will remain in its current league for the next two years.

On Feb. 20, the Board of Control of the Cross County Conference received letters from Ansonia, Arcanum, Bradford, Franklin Monroe, Mississinawa Valley, National Trail, Newton, Tri-County North, Tri-Village and Twin Valley South announcing their intention to leave that conference. Those schools are expected to remain together to form a 10-team conference, also currently unnnamed.

Also in the SWBL, Preble Shawnee announced its intention to leave the conference.

“We are very thankful for our time in the SWBL,” Lane said. “We look forward to these next two years competing in the SWBL. There are probably not too many conferences as well run as that one, especially with the leadership of Gary Peffly. It’s an absolute tough decision to leave that league. We felt as a school district an opportunity presented itself that was too good to pass up.”

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