League meetings appoaching for Tonganoxie
Meetings scheduled for the coming weeks could help decide Tonganoxie’s future league membership.
Kaw Valley League superintendents and athletics directors are set to meet Wednesday, March 29, to “discuss where each school stands,” THS athletics director Brian Engelken told the school board at its March meeting.
He said THS and other schools would then visit with Frontier League officials to discuss a possible fit in that league.
Engelken spoke at the March Tonganoxie School Board meeting about the future of the Kaw Valley League, a conference THS has been in since the KVL’s modern formation in 1982 (To read a feature on the league's history that was published a few years ago, click here).
Current member Bishop Ward will head to the Crossroads League starting with the 2018-19 school year, reducing the league to six teams — Basehor-Linwood, Bonner Springs, Lansing, Piper, Turner and Tonganoxie.
Engelken told the board that Lansing wants to create a new league that would contain all or some combination of THS, BLHS, Bonner Springs, Blue Valley Southwest, De Soto, Leavenworth, Ottawa, Piper, Spring Hill, Turner and Topeka schools Seaman, Shawnee Heights and Topeka West.
Other Topeka public schools Highland Park, Topeka High and Washburn Rural were not part of the conversation in joining the Lions in a new league.
Engelken said no THS coaches were in favor of joining that proposed league with the current proposal.
They were basically unanimous in joining the Frontier League, which has offered an invite to THS and several other schools — Lansing, Turner, Basehor-Linwood, Bonner Springs, Blue Valley Southwest, Piper and Turner.
He said one coach didn’t favor how the Frontier League configures its conference schedule in that coach’s particular sport, but didn’t have an alternative conference suggestion to the Frontier League.
The current seven-member Frontier League is Baldwin, De Soto, Eudora, Louisburg, Paola and Spring Hill.
It’s Engelken’s opinions that the Frontier League would add three schools and that Lansing and Turner would not head that way.
Tonganoxie coaches prefer the Frontier League because of the similar-sized schools and fellow one-high-school communities. Also, Frontier schools such as Baldwin, Spring Hill and Eudora regularly appear on THS non-conference schedules.
Engelken said the key would be for Tonganoxie to have a conference home come the fall of 2018 and not a scenario in which the “music stops and we’re left without a chair.”
The Kaw Valley League first existed from 1925-37, but resurfaced in the early 1980s. The most activity of teams coming and going started in 2000 when Mill Valley joined the league. The KVL had between nine and 10 teams for several years, but the latest activity would leave the league at its smallest membership.