Riders staying in WRC

Allen Moff Published:

By Tom Hardesty

Record-Courier staff writer

The proposed expansion of the Portage County League tentatively has 15 interested members. Ideally, there will be 16 schools if and when the new league is finalized.

While rumors are running rampant as to who School No. 16 might be, heres who it wont be: Kent Roosevelt.

At least for now.

The Rough Riders currently are members of the Western Reserve Conferences South Division, which was formed when the old Metro League broke up following the 1995-96 school year. And as things stand now, the Rough Riders are standing pat.

At this time, were happy with where we are in the WRC, said Roosevelt athletic director Ernie Rutzky. Were not looking to leave the WRC, nor are we actively searching to become a member of another league.

We were invited to the first meeting (of the proposed new PCL). We talked about it administratively, and decided to wait and see what developed and what direction things were going in before we looked into it further. Not being dissatisfied with the WRC and not wanting to change league affiliations at this point, we decided not to attend the meeting.

However, the WRC will undergo a shakeup should the new league come into being. Ravenna, a member of the WRC South with Roosevelt, will switch to the expanded PCL, leaving the South Division one team short and leaving Roosevelt without its arch-rival.

However, the WRC will undergo a shakeup should the new league come into being. Ravenna, a member of the WRC South with Roosevelt, will switch to the expanded PCL, leaving the South Division one team short and leaving Roosevelt without its arch-rival.

In that scenario, the two tightly knit communities would see their athletic rivalries take on a different dimension.

We would try to keep the rivalry intact by scheduling them as non-league opponents in as many sports as possible, said Rutzky. With the two towns and the history of that rivalry, wed like to keep that going. Obviously, there would not be league titles at stake and the games would not show up in the league standings. But just the opportunity to play Ravenna and to work hard to get the win will still have significance to us.

Wed try to keep them on the schedule every year as long as they were willing and interested.

Ravennas entrance into the new league could have unintended consequences for Roosevelt down the line. Not only would the two schools suddenly be in different leagues and the WRC South one team short, but it would also leave Roosevelt as the smallest school enrollment-wise in the division a distinction currently owned by Ravenna.

Could the weight of all these factors not to mention the possible geographic rivalries that could be fostered with schools like Streetsboro, Field and maybe Southeast and Crestwood be enough to eventually push Roosevelt into the new league?

If there was some transition in the WRC, we would examine our options, said Rutzky. Weve played some of those teamsin non-league games, and they have been strong competition for us through the years when weve played them. Our boys basketball team played Streetsboro earlier this season and we just played Crestwood on Tuesday, and our football team opens its season against Crestwood this year.

We will be the smallest school in the South Division. Its always a concern when you have a limited number of athletes and youre going up against schools with a greater enrollment and a greater number of athletes within their athletic program. But for the time being, depending on who would replace Ravenna and barring any more changes within the WRC, were not interested in joining any other leagues.

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