Multiple Changes to the OCC
For the first time since 2004, the OCC is adding a new member, while losing one of its founding members.
The Ohio Cardinal Conference has welcomed Mount Vernon as a new member of the conference this fall, while Orrville has left the OCC at the same time.
The OCC was created in 2002 by Wooster, Lexington, Madison, Ashland, Mansfield Senior, Orrville and West Holmes and conference play began in fall of 2003, according to occsports.org. Soon after, Clear Fork joined the league. The teams have been competing in athletics and activities for 13 years in this conference.
Mount Vernon has joined the OCC, coming from the Ohio Capital Conference.
Justin Sanford, Mount Vernon’s activity director, says leaving the Ohio Capital Conference for the OCC was tough, because Mount Vernon was one of the Ohio Capital Conference’s founding members.
“However, with the changing landscape of schools in central Ohio and seemingly regular realignment happening in the Capital Conference, it was in the opinion that in the best interest of Mount Vernon’s student-athletes, programs, fans, and consistency, the Ohio Cardinal Conference was the greatest fit for our school,” Sanford said.
Sanford says the OCC is both a great competitive and geographical fit for Mount Vernon schools.
“Having like-sized schools in this conference is certainly an equalizer as it comes to competitiveness. I hope that the Mount Vernon athletic programs bring a great passion for our sports both from our coaches, kids, and our community,” he said.
According to the article “Ohio Cardinal Conference opens doors to Mount Vernon,” by Curt Conrad at richlandsource.com, Mount Vernon has the biggest male enrollment of students at the high school at 489 male students in grades nine through 12 and second biggest female enrollment at 423 female students among the OCC schools.
Orrville has joined the Principals’ Athletic Conference. Orrville was the smallest school in the OCC, with 185 boys and 174 girls in grades nine through 12, according to richlandsource.com. Andy Kellar, the WHS Athletic Director, says Orrville was the furthest east in the league and traveling was too much for their middle school teams.
Clear Fork will also be leaving as of fall 2017, because of its increasingly small size, according to Kellar.
The OCC has been a successful conference as it has 12 state champions over the 13 years, according to occsports.org.
Kellar believes a new and competitive school will only make Wooster athletics stronger.
This year, Kellar would love to see Wooster win the OCC all sports trophy and for everyone in Wooster schools to work hard and compete well in their athletics.