Turner to become largest school in KVL
Turner High School has been accepted into the Kaw Valley League and will begin play during the 2008-09 season.
The official word reached existing KVL schools in late May.
"It's a bigger school, so that will add a level of more competition to our league," Tonganoxie athletics director Brandon Parker said.
With its enrollment of more than 1,200 students, Turner will instantly become the largest school in the league. Tonganoxie had about 580 students last year, including freshmen.
Turner's chance to join the KVL came because of Immaculata's desire to leave. At the beginning of the 2006-07 school year, KVL officials received a letter from Immaculata that detailed the desire to leave the league, citing size issues as the main reason.
A league source said the vote among athletics directors was 7-2 in favor of Turner. A similar vote among KVL principals was 8-1 in favor of Turner. Only six votes were needed in each case for acceptance.
"For the past four years we have been working really hard on sportsmanship and we have taken care of business," Turner athletics director Paul Colwell said.
Turner's inclusion will shift the landscape of the KVL. The league's large school division now will include Turner, Mill Valley, Lansing, Bonner Springs and Tonganoxie. The Chieftains will have the smallest enrollment numbers of the large school division.
The small school division will consist of Basehor-Linwood, Piper, Bishop Ward, Perry-Lecompton and Santa Fe Trail. If last year's enrollment holds, the only existing school to change classes would be Basehor-Linwood.
"Regardless of where we ended up as far as the league configuration goes, we felt they were a great addition and we're certainly happy to have them in the league," Basehor-Linwood athletics director Joe Keeler said. "Anytime you can strengthen competition, I think that's a benefit and has a positive effect on the league."
Along with shedding its independent label and becoming affiliated with teams in close proximity, Turner will gain exposure for its athletes through league competition and postseason honors.
"We kid around that we've been in first place in our league for the last four years," Colwell said. "I think this will be great for our kids because we haven't been able to win league titles in the past four years. We haven't enjoyed the thrill of all-league honors. It's been all-metro or nothing for us."
Turner joined Bonner Springs (2002) and Mill Valley (2000) as the most recent additions to the Kaw Valley League. Immaculata joined De Soto (2004) as the most recent schools to depart.
-- Eric Sorrentino contributed to this story.