Farewell to the CIML?

Is it time Marshalltown parts ways with the Central Iowa Metropolitan League and forms a new conference?

Marshalltown High School Activities Director Craig Huegel and Principal Aiddy Phomvisay feel it is time.

The two addressed the Marshalltown School Board Wednesday with an idea to form a new athletics and activities conference made up of eight current CIML schools – Marshalltown, Indianola, Ottumwa and the five Des Moines public schools (East, Hoover, Lincoln, North and Roosevelt).

“We were approached in April by the Des Moines public schools regarding this opportunity,” Huegel said.

This yet-to-be-named conference would take part in all current athletics except football and also include activities and would start in the 2015-16 school year.

“I believe this would be a good move for our school district,” Huegel said. “We would still be in a Class 4A conference.”

Huegel said athletic directors from the eight schools met this past May to talk about this idea and all will be moving forward with possible approval.

Marshalltown would be right in the middle of this new conference in terms of student enrollment, which administrators feel will be beneficial to the success of the athletic teams.

“We believe we will be more competitive,” Huegel said.

Phomvisay said increased success would equate to more participation among MHS students in athletics.

“The more engaged and involved students are we know they are better students as a result,” Phomvisay said.

Huegel said they would be going to Ottumwa more but Mason City less so transportation costs would not change much. He said this new conference would give Marshalltown more freedom to schedule opponents school leaders think will fit.

As an example, Huegel said the boys and girls basketball teams currently play 21 games and 18 of those are conference games. He said this doesn’t give them much flexibility with scheduling schools that are closer or schools that are a more competitive match. Football is not affected as it plays in districts, not through the CIML conference.

Huegel said he has talked with head coaches at MHS and they were supportive of this new conference.

“At the end of the day I’m looking at our students, looking at our student-athletes and I think this will be a positive move,” Huegel said.

Huegel said that this move could affect middle school athletics as well.

“We haven’t had that discussion yet,” Huegel said.

The school board is expected to make a decision on whether to approve Marshalltown’s slot in this new conference at its July 14 board meeting at 5 p.m. in district offices.

The deadline for schools to approve the new conference is August 1.

Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or apotter@timesrepublican.com