Since the school opened ten years ago, The Fox Valley Athletic Conference has forced athletes and coaches to travel long distances to attend matches, games, tournaments, and other various competitions. With schools including Hampshire, Dundee Crown, and Huntley, travel times can be upwards of an hour.
The formation of a new athletic conference in the 2016-2017 school year will cut those travel times, as well as provide new competition and rivals for the school. With new schools including Round Lake, Lakes, Antioch and Wauconda actually part of the conference, there will competition that was otherwise considered “non-conference”.
For students, the decreased travel time will give them more time to do homework on school nights when they have competitions, while also providing a more realistic distance for the superfans, parents, and other supporters to travel. Now, all of the schools are located in Lake County, and it will be easier for everyone to attend competitions.
After the announcement was made regarding the new conference, Superintendent Dr. Catherine Finger spoke to athletes at Fall Sports Night. Finger also released a letter in early August to publically announce the news.
While the focus of the conference change is for athletes, the change will benefit other organizations including competitive clubs and possible combined school activities between the eight high schools.
So far, high schools in Round Lake, Antioch, Grant, North Chicago, Grayslake and Lake Villa have officially committed to join. Besides a decrease in travel time, the conference is also evenly matched as far as student population is concerned. According to Athletic Director Tina Woolard, most of the schools are either considered to be within levels 3 or 4.
The plan is that students will partake in the naming and logo creation. Sometime later this year, there will be a competition between all schools in the conference where each school will provide students the chance to have a say in the design.
According to Finger, there have been many conversations over the past three to four years regarding the creation of a new conference. Though it has taken time to get to this point, it is exciting to finally have plans set and schools committed.
In the coming years, it will be a learning, rewarding, and growing experience for athletic teams and activities to compete with different schools. Aside from that, though, the cut in travel time is what is most exciting.