The Clear Fork school board will consider in December an offer to join the Red Division of The Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.
“Our young people are competing against schools much larger than us,” Clear Fork Athletic Director Joe Tresey said. “The more students you have, the more potential you have for athletes to emerge. There are not many schools in Ohio playing up in a league like we are.”
According to statistics from Ohio High School Athletic Association, the Colts have 381 potential student athletes in grades 9, 10 and 11. The next closest school is West Holmes with 527 potential athletes. At the top of the conference, newly added Mount Vernon boasts an 823 student athlete pool.
Among the schools in the Ohio Cardinal Conference, five schools have enrolment figures of more than 600 students, nearly doubling the number of Clear Fork athletes.
School officials said the biannual statistics from the OHSAA are the reason the athletic department and school administrators are considering a move out of the OCC.
In addition, officials say the athletic department is looking to make a jump to a league that is more suitable in both enrolment and demographics.
“We currently have a standing invitation to join MOAC,” Clear Fork High School Principal Brian Brown said at the Nov. 12 school board meeting.
The move would pit the Colts against the likes of Buckeye Valley, Galion, Jonathan Alder, Marion Harding, Marion Pleasant, North Union and River Valley, as Clear Fork would replace Fairbanks in the conference.
“It’s nice to have another team closer to us in proximity,” Galion Athletic Director Kyle Baughn said. “It makes the MOAC Red stronger.”
Baughn said a rivalry between his school and Clear Fork would be similar to River Valley and Jonathan Alder. Galion will still play Fairbanks next year. Baughn said Galion has played against Clear Fork in some of its sports but will be consider conference games in 2017 if the school joins the league.
Among the schools that comprise MOAC, if the Colts were to join, Clear Fork would have the fifth largest enrolment of the eight schools in the league.
“We have been waiting for 12 years for opportunity to join a different conference,” Brown said. “I think it would be very advantageous for us.”
While Clear Fork would more closely match the enrolment figures of schools in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, joining the league would require additional travel.
In the OCC, the Colts average 29 travel miles for away games. Orrville currently stands as Clear Fork’s most distant opponent residing 54 miles away from the valley.
In joining the MOAC, the Colts would increase their average travel mileage by almost 18 miles per contest. Clear Fork’s farthest conference foe would be Jonathan Alder at 71 miles away.
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.