Published On: Wed, Mar 23rd, 2011

Crofton, O’Neill to join MidState Conf.

HARTINGTON — The Huskers aren’t the only school joining a new athletic conference.
The MidStates Conference announced this week it will expand to 10 teams, picking up Crofton and O’Neill.

Neither foe is new to long-time MidStates competitor Cedar Catholic.
Cedar, O’Neill, Wayne and South Sioux City were part of the Northern Activities Conference in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Cedar joined the MidStates Conference in 1996 and Wayne soon followed. Cedar and O’Neill have kept each other on their schedules even after the conference dissolved.
Cedar and Crofton have had a long-standing date to square off in most sports.
”I think this is a good thing for Cedar and the conference, It’s going to make the conference better,” said Cedar Catholic Activities Director Mike Johnson. “Our schedule most likely won’t change at all, since we already play both schools in basketball and volleyball.”
Crofton’s move will leave a void in the Northeast Nebraska Athletic Conference, though.
NENAC powerhouse Laurel-Concord-Coleridge will miss having the high-calibre Crofton teams in their conference, said Scott Petersen, Laurel-Concord/Coleridge Athletic Director.
“I was disappointed to see [Crofton] go. They’re a quality team,” said Petersen.
“I hate to see [Crofton] go, but they had to look out for their school and their students,” said Bazata.
Petersen felt the conference would look for a school eventually to get back to eight teams.
“Tournaments won’t be as tidy with just seven,” said Petersen, “but the conference did operate with only seven teams for a couple years after Bloomfield departed.”
Bloomfield left a few years ago to join the Lewis and Clark Conference. Atkinson West Holt was then tabbed to replace the Bees.
Bazata said the superintendents of the remaining schools and NENAC officials plan to meet in a couple weeks to discuss their options.
“We, as a conference, want to be proactive,” said Bazata.
When NENAC and school officials meet, they will construct a list of possible schools based on certain criteria, such as location, school size and parity to existing NENAC members, he said.