GROVE CITY — If there was any doubt about its new conference membership, all one has to do at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City High School is take a peek at the walls of the gymnasium.
The banners already have been hung.
With no spring sports because of the coronavirus pandemic, ACGC officially is moving forward to a new league: the Central Minnesota Conference.
“We looked at the size of the school’s population and the geography and decided it would be a good fit,” ACGC activities director Marj Maurer said. “Those are two really big things.”
ACGC leaves the West Central Conference in good standing. Rick Fischer, assigning secretary for the WCC from Sauk Centre, said the league will continue on with seven members. They are: Benson, BOLD, Melrose, Minnewaska, Montevideo, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta and Sauk Centre.
ACGC becomes the eighth member of the CMC, joining Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Eden Valley-Watkins, Holdingford, Kimball, Maple Lake, Paynesville and Royalton.
“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for our student athletes,” Maurer said. “It gives them a chance to play schools similar in size.”
Maurer said ACGC looked at moving to the CMC when Paynesville left the West Central in 2015. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted decided to leave the CMC for the Wright County Conference after this school year, leaving an opening. That’s when ACGC decided to move.
“A lot of our non-conference games were against those teams,” said Maurer, listing off BBE, Paynesville, Eden Valley-Watkins and Kimball. “It does make some sense geographically.”
ACGC moves to the conference for volleyball, wrestling, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls golf, boys and girls track and field, softball and baseball. Football continues to use district scheduling. ACGC’s dance team, which participated in the state tournament in February, will remain in the WCC.
ACGC does not field a cross-country team.
Maurer said the biggest challenge on her end will be scheduling. In the WCC, Fischer handled it in all sports. In the CMC, each AD is assigned a sport to schedule for the entire conference. Maurer’s sport will be volleyball.
She expressed sadness that there would be no final spring in the WCC. ACGC’s move will happen without fanfare.
“I would have loved to be doing spring sports right now,” she said.
KMS star commits
Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg star Madison Rohner has decided to join the women’s basketball program at Minnesota State-Fergus Falls. She’ll play for new head coach Jodi Holleman.
Rohner also was an all-conference track and field participant and tennis player who averaged 17.3 points and 12.0 rebounds per game for KMS last winter. She shot 52.6 percent from the field and had career numbers of 1,104 points, 937 rebounds, 97 blocked shots, 95 steals and 68 assists.
Her senior year, Rohner was named Co-MVP of the Camden Conference, earning second-team All-West Central Tribune honors.
“I am extremely excited that Maddy has decided to play basketball at M-State,” said Hollerman, who said she now has 10 players committed for next season. “I have had my eye on her for the past three years and watched her develop into a mighty fine player that racked up numerous double-doubles over the years.”
MSU-Fergus Falls did not field a women’s basketball team last season. But, Hollerman hopes to rebuild. She was the coach at Ridgewater, compiling a 33-77 record in five seasons, before moving to Fergus Falls. She has more than 20 years of experience in high school and college coaching.
Here’s the 2020-21 lineups for the Central Minnesota and West Central Conferences, with enrollments supplied to the Minnesota State High School League for 2019-20 in parentheses:
Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Falcons (217)
Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars (183)
Eden Valley-Watkins Eagles (258)
Holdingford Huskers (299)
Kimball Cubs (218)
Maple Lake Irish (293)
Paynesville Bulldogs (278)
Royalton Royals (258)
Benson Braves (205)
BOLD Warriors (183)
Melrose Dutchmen (442)
Minnewaska Lakers (315)
Montevideo Thunder Hawks (330)
Morris Area Tigers (283)
Sauk Centre Mainstreeters (321)