AE, AGS officials react to North Star League expansion
ARENAC COUNTY — Four new schools will be joining the North Star League next school year, following a vote Jan. 14 by the member school’s athletic directors.
Arenac Eastern Principal Michael Bowman said following a unanimous 8-0 vote, Whittemore-Prescott, Oscoda, Alcona and Rogers City would be joining the league. W-P, Oscoda and Alcona are currently members of the Huron Shores Conference.
Au Gres-Sims Athletic Director Jeri Christie said the merger should be a boon to member schools, which would have competition closer to home.
“I think it’s going to help with scheduling difficulties,” she said. “It’s keeping our competition closer, rather than having to travel to, let’s say, Mayville to play football.”
Bowman said the league is currently working on adding in the new teams to all of the sports schedules, and added they are looking at a two-tier football league to separate out the small schools from the large schools.
“The little schools and the big schools play basketball together, and its fine. The little schools have been doing well this year,” Bowman said. “It’s just football under discussion. One tier would have four schools and the other would have five.”
Christie added the two-tier league had not yet been set in stone, and was still being decided upon.
She noted it would not have a huge effect on AGS students, who already play some of the schools from the Huron Shores League: Oscoda, Alcona, Tawas, and Whittemore-Prescott. Christie said playing Rogers City would be a new experience for AGS, however, as the team was interested in leaving the Ski Valley League and is geographically close to the North Star League’s Posen and Hillman already.
Only nine schools will be participating in the football league, as Fairview does not have a team and both AE and AGS field a combined team. AE and AGS also have joint volleyball and track teams, and Bowman noted that track was its “own animal” for scheduling purposes.
The AE board gave its blessing to the expansion in a unanimous vote Jan. 14, while the AGS board has not yet met to approve it.
Bowman also reported that Hillman had put in a letter to the league stating the school district’s intention of leaving the North Star League, but ultimately no action was taken on it at the meeting.
Terry Gillette, Mio AuSable athletic director, told the Ogemaw County Herald that it had been on the agenda, but Hillman requested it be tabled until a later meeting.
Bowman said Hillman would remain a league member through next year unless the board ended up taking a vote on it.
The North Star League currently consists of Arenac Eastern, Au Gres-Sims, Mio AuSable, Fairview, Atlanta, Hale, Hillman, and Posen.