Leo and Huntington North will join six high schools from the Northeast Hoosier Conference to form a new athletic conference, starting with the 2015-16 school year.
Norwell principal Mark Misch, the current president of the NHC, confirmed the decision today. The conference has not yet been named.
“In terms of looking at all the areas (Leo and Huntington North) presented, we felt like those two were the most similar to us from demographics to facilities to the sports being offered,” Misch said.
Leo and Huntington North will join current NHC schools Bellmont, Columbia City, DeKalb, East Noble, New Haven and Norwell in the new conference.
The NHC, which includes Carroll and Homestead, will continue in its current format through the 2014-15 school year. Leo is in the Allen County Athletic Conference and Huntington North is in the North Central Conference.
One of the reasons the six NHC schools cited for wanting to form a new conference was the growing enrollments of Carroll and Homestead.
Huntington North would be the largest school in the new conference, with an enrollment of 1,665 students, according to the presentation it gave at a meeting with NHC schools last week.. Leo, at 904, would be in the middle of the pack in size.
“Homestead and Carroll are still trending up,” Misch said. “If people start to look at Huntington North's size, it's less than they were five years ago and that trend will probably still continue.”
Misch said Huntington North and Leo both were strong fits in demographic similarity, too. The former NHC schools had also considered Angola and Concordia Lutheran for the potential conference.
“All eight of us will now have a similar makeup, a city/rural demographic,” Misch said. “Huntington North is similar to us as well. The growth is not there for Huntington North like it is for Homestead and Carroll, so the disparity is not going to continue to grow.”