Avon to move to Southwestern Conference in 2015-16

Toward the end of fall sports season, there were talks of Avon looking to leave the West Shore Conference for the Southwestern Conference.

Those talks were put to rest Thursday when the SWC voted to accept Avon Local Schools as a full conference member beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

“I think it’s a positive step forward for the conference,” SWC commissioner Michael McCarthy said. “It certainly is a positive move for Avon. Avon has a fine reputation in many ways — academically, athletically, their facilities are outstanding and I think they are simply a good fit for the conference schools.”

Avon will fill the eighth position in the conference once Berea High School combines with Midpark High School in the 2013-14 school year to form Berea-Midpark High School. The move has provided the conference the ability to add Avon Local Schools.

Current SWC schools include Amherst, Avon Lake, Westlake, Berea, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Midpark, North Olmsted and Olmsted Falls.

Avon has been a member of the WSC for eight years and was one of the founding members when the conference was established in 2005.

“I’m very excited for our kids; I think it’s a great opportunity,” Avon athletic director Erich Frombach said on moving to the SWC. “I’m kind of sad, too, because we’ve made a lot of great relationships with the people in the West Shore Conference and there are a lot of great schools in the conference. Moving forward, our overall enrollment is in line with the schools in (the SWC) and we’re excited for the challenge.”

The move will leave the WSC with a big hole to fill, especially in football, where the team finished runners-up in the Division II state championship in 2011 and made it to the regional finals this past season.

“It’s disappointing for our league,” secretary for the WSC Jim Cahoon said. “They’ve been a great school in our league and they’ve grown right along in our league. They’re a great opponent, have a great fan base and their leadership is strong. I think they’ll be missed. Hopefully we can find a comparable school that will take their place.”

Cahoon said the league will be advertising an opening very soon.

“We certainly are interested in finding a school to join our league and hopefully it will be the quality of Avon,” Cahoon added.

The fact that Avon already plays most of the schools in the SWC anyways — with the exception of Brecksville-Broadview Heights — with the majority of them being Division I in all sports is what made it most appealing to Frombach.

“I’m assuming that we’re going stay Division II in football but I don’t know,” Frombach said, “so I think when we looked at that when we got into the tournament in all our other sports it seemed like we always played those schools.”

He’s got a point.

Last year the Avon boys soccer team played Westlake in the sectional final, while both girls teams met in the district finals.

This year both girls teams met in the sectional finals while the boys played each other in the district semifinals.

“It just seems like a good fit all the way around,” Frombach said. “It’s exciting for our community. We have a lot of western Cuyahoga County people that live out here that went to school in the old Southwestern Conference, so they know what that conference meant to them. I think for everybody in our school, our coaches and our community ... They’re going to be excited.”

@PaulBarney18

Last Updated: 12/20/2012 10:57:17 PM EST

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