December 17, 2014

Standish-Sterling drops out of NEMC

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STANDISH — The Northeast Michigan Conference recently lost Tawas and Monday night, Standish Sterling dropped out of the league as well.

“Tawas has left the conference as of a month ago,” said board member Dr. Leonard LeClair, adding the number of permanent, all-sports districts in the league for next year would only be Ogemaw Heights, Pinconning, Bay City John Glenn and SSC. “It serves us no purpose to remain in that conference.

“John Glenn and Ogemaw Heights have been looking for other alternatives as well.”

“We have our schedules that continue through the year,” said SSC Athletic Director Ben Welmers.

According to Welmers, the school-size discrepancy is a major reason Tawas dropped out of the league. Welmers said Ogemaw Heights and John Glenn both have about 800-900 high school students enrolled, while Tawas, Pinconning and SSC each had only about 600 students, maybe less, in high school. Whittemore-Prescott is an NEMC member in all sports besides football and has only about 350 students in high school.

Board member Gary McFarland said another league that includes Clare, Farwell, Gladwin, Beaverton and four others could be the alternative for athletics.

“We’ve applied over the last two years, to the Jack Pine Conference,” McFarland said.

He said a new league that would include SSC, Pinconning, Tawas, Alcona, Whittemore-Prescott and Oscoda was also proposed recently, but seems to be losing momentum.

Welmers told the Independent that scheduling as an independent team is difficult, but the board said Monday night that by dropping out of the NEMC early in the year would give more time for the district to shop around for leagues looking to bring in new teams.

In football this year, SSC only played four conference games – Tawas, Ogemaw Heights, Pinconning and Bay City John Glenn. Welmers said since the conference was so small, SSC has had to travel far the last couple of years, including trips to Suttons Bay, Cheboygan and Almont.

The board made the decision at its Dec. 15 meeting. It announced it would send letters to surrounding area schools announcing the team’s independence.

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