LEIPSIC — Make room, Holgate’s move to the Buckeye Border Conference — you have company in league-realignment landscape of northwest Ohio.
After roughly 49 years, Leipsic is leaving the Blanchard Valley Conference (BVC) for the Northwest Conference (NWC), beginning in the 2022-23 school year.
The move, approved by the school’s extracurricular committee in a meeting Thursday evening, is still awaiting approval from the school board, which could convene in a special meeting next week.
Leipsic’s departure from the BVC, which was approved by 5-0 vote by the Leipsic school board Wednesday, would take place following the 2021-22 school year. The board still needs to vote on joining the NWC.
With Paulding making the move to replace Holgate in the Green Meadows Conference, the NWC extended five letters with the goal of exploring interest from various schools about joining the league.
One of those schools was Patrick Henry, which, according to Athletic Director Ben George, never seriously considered a change in league.
“I personally know the NWC sent out five letters and that we were one of them,” George said. “We did nothing with it. The NWC is a nice league, but it was nothing we were interested in.”
George cited the status of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League as a reason to stay.
“The NWOAL has such a strong presence in our community,” George said. “We believe we’re a quality member of the league, which is a staple league in this region.
“What it comes down to is we always want to do what’s best for our students,” George added. “It’s also nice to know what to expect out of our league meetings. There’s a lot of familiarity there, and that makes it easier.”
George noted the timing seemed right for Leipsic to make the move, while acknowledging the rumors surrounding his own program’s willingness to make a similar move.
“Once Holgate made its decision to go to the BBC, it sort of lined up the dominoes,” George said. “I know with the BVC, it’s sort of one big school and a bunch of smaller schools, so that move was something you could see coming. And I know this is one of those things that people always talk about. Even back when I played at Patrick Henry, there were rumors about when PH was going to jump leagues.”
The NWC board voted unanimously Wednesday to extend an invitation to Leipsic, the only school of the five to receive an invitation to join the league.
Leipsic joined the BVC for football in 1965 and for all sports in 1971. The Vikings have won more than 35 team conference titles across eight sports, leading the league in baseball titles.