South Tama County accepts invite into WaMaC, awaiting approval from conference

South Tama County High School has had trouble finding a conference it can call home in recent years. Since 2006, the Trojans have been a part of three different leagues, and they appear to be on the move again.

The school played in the WaMaC Conference up until 2006 when it joined the Little Hawkeye Conference. In 2011, STC dumped the LHC for the North Iowa Cedar League.

But according to South Tama County Superintendent Kerri Nelson, the Trojans could be heading back to familiar territory in the WaMaC Conference, which invited STC into the league for membership back in December.

“South Tama is currently a member of the NICL and was not pursuing a change in conference membership,” Nelson said. “The invitation was sent to three school districts, South Tama being just one. South Tama’s Board of Education accepted the invitation on Friday, Jan. 11.

“There is a formal process the WaMaC Conference needs to complete in order to approve South Tama’s membership into the conference.”

The other two schools contacted by the WaMaC included Oelwein and Union of LaPorte City. Both schools declined the invitation, according to West Delaware athletic director Bob Murphy.

Murphy, who also is the Chair of the WaMaC this year, said he doesn’t see an issue with STC being accepted into the conference.

However, some of the schools may be checking on facilities and numbers at South Tama.

“I don’t think it will be an issue,” Murphy said. “I am glad that they are coming in or at least are close to coming in. They are right at what most of our schools’ population is and their location fits, too.”

The WaMaC (named for the Wapsipinicon, Maquoketa and Cedar Rivers) is trying to get back to an even 16 teams after Waterloo Columbus decided to leave the league this past August to join the NICL, the league that South Tama County may be departing after only two years.

The WaMaC Conference needs a “yes” vote from nine of the 15 athletic directors of the other schools. Those votes could come at any time, but Nelson anticipates a response from the league sometime in February.

“There are benefits to participating in the NICL and the WaMaC conference,” said Nelson. “The Board did make a formal decision to pursue the opportunity with the WaMaC. One reason the Board made the decision to accept is to help our middle school teams have more opportunities, which will contribute to the long term success of the overall program.”

Murphy said that the electronic voting system that counts the votes from the 15 schools in the WaMaC is being sent out today.

If STC gets voted in, it could begin playing in the league come the fall of 2013. Murphy did say that the NICL may not let the Trojans leave until the following year though.

Columbus received an invitation into the NICL following the closing of NU High last spring and will join the league’s East Division, beginning with fall activities during the 2013-14 school year.

The move will put Columbus in a 16-school league with mostly traditional Class 2A schools.

The majority of the WaMaC’s 16 schools compete in Class 3A, same as South Tama County.

If all works out, South Tama would be in the WaMaC’s West Division, along with Benton Community, Center Point-Urbana, Clear Creek-Amana, Independence, Marion, Vinton-Shellsburg and Williamsburg.

The East Division consists of Anamosa, Central Clinton (DeWitt), Dyersville Beckman, Maquoketa, Mount Vernon, Solon, West Delaware and Western Dubuque.