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Genoa-Kingston poised to join new conference

Rob Winner –
Genoa-Kingston's Julie Galauner (left) is pressured by Indian Creek's Madison Russell during the first quarter in Genoa, Ill., Monday, Nov. 18, 2013.
Rob Winner – Genoa-Kingston's Julie Galauner (left) is pressured by Indian Creek's Madison Russell during the first quarter in Genoa, Ill., Monday, Nov. 18, 2013.

Eight schools, including Genoa-Kingston and five other Big Northern Conference East members, are poised to make up a new athletic conference beginning in 2015.

G-K, Burlington Central, Woodstock, Woodstock North, Johnsburg, Richmond-Burton, Marengo and Harvard were listed in an informational presentation given to the District 301 school board Monday night as potential members for the new league.

G-K principal Brett McPherson would not confirm the school’s interest in the new league when reached Tuesday morning.

“I don’t have an official comment on any of that stuff other than to say we’re always looking for opportunities to do what’s right for our kids,” McPherson said.

G-K athletic director Phil Jerbi agreed.

“At this time, we are always looking at opportunities to benefit our students or our student-athletes in any way, shape or form,” Jerbi said. “We’re always looking at viable options.”

Woodstock principal Corey Tafoya declined last week to say which schools – or how many – could be joining the new league, saying he didn’t want to speak for districts other than the one he represents.

Burlington Central AD Steve Diversey, who presented the report to the District 301 board, said Tuesday that the option of moving to a new conference made sense on a variety of levels.

Unlike Woodstock and Woodstock North, which are among the smallest schools in the Fox Valley Conference, Burlington Central would not be looking to switch conferences because of student enrollment numbers. Instead, Diversey said, B-C would benefit from competing against schools in closer proximity.

Diversey said students would not have to be dismissed early from classes for games and a shorter distance also would allow parents coming from work to be able to see their kids play.

Tafoya said Tuesday morning – as he did last week – that he felt it was important for each district board to have “localized” discussions about schools making the jump to a new league. Tafoya said once those discussions took place at the board level, it would be easier to “connect the dots” as to who is involved in the new conference.

G-K holds its next school board meeting Tuesday.

Tafoya said that while names for the new conference have been discussed, nothing has been formalized. He said the new league would be moving away from the Big Northern distinction.

G-K, Marengo and Harvard all are original members of the BNC, which was formed in 1991.

According to IHSA enrollment numbers, G-K would be the league’s smallest school with 640 students. Burlington Central would be the largest school in the conference with 1,051 students.

Tafoya said Tuesday he expects all of the school boards to receive information about the formation of the new league this month and expects votes to be taken by each board in December.

“We think there really are a lot of benefits for everyone involved,” Tafoya said Tuesday. “I think this gives us a tidy, little conference.”

• Ross Jacobson contributed to this report.

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