Cloverleaf High School will leave the leave Suburban League and join the Portage Trail Conference for athletics in the 2015-16 school year, Suburban League Commissioner Keith Walker said Tuesday.
Walker said the Suburban League is seeking to add one school to the expanded conference, which is set to have 16 schools divided into two, eight-school divisions in 2015-16.
“Cloverleaf is moving leagues,” Walker said. “Their board voted last night [Monday] to join the PTC. We’re looking for someone to replace them.”
The big school portion of the Suburban League is set to have Nordonia, Wadsworth, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Stow, Twinsburg, North Royalton and Brecksville.
The small school portion of the Suburban League is set to have Copley, Highland, Revere, Tallmadge, Barberton, Kent Roosevelt and Aurora.
“We will look at other schools and see what is out there,” Walker said. “In a perfect world we would like to add a school with an enrollment between Tallmadge and Barberton.”
Cloverleaf is the second Suburban League member to say it is leaving this year following Green’s decision to move to the Federal League in 2015-16.
“Our enrollment has been on the steady decline the past few years,” Cloverleaf Athletic Director Craig Walkup said. “When we joined the Suburban League in 1997 we had approximately 3,700 students [between kindergarten and 12th grade] and now we are down to approximately 2,600, and that number will continue to drop the next four years.
“We used to be Division II in football and Division I in 19 sports. Now we are Division III in football, Division I in 16 sports and Division II in three sports. We are looking at being Division II and Division III in most sports soon. The Suburban League schools are bigger. We are looking for similar enrollment and similar competition level. The Suburban League is a great league with some of the most professional athletic departments you will find, but the PTC makes more sense for us. When the PTC came along we felt they had the demographics and similar enrollment that we were looking for. We are familiar with most of the schools. We play against Norton, Coventry and Springfield quite a bit.”
The PTC currently has 14 league members, but Kent Roosevelt will be departing for the Suburban League in 2015-16.
The PTC Metro Division currently features Coventry, Crestwood, Field, Kent Roosevelt, Norton, Ravenna and Springfield. Cloverleaf will replace Roosevelt in the PTC Metro.
“Joining the Metro Division of the PTC is no more travel than being in the Suburban League and traveling to those schools,” Walkup said.
The PTC County Division currently features Garrettsville, Mogadore, Rootstown, Southeast, Streetsboro, Waterloo and Woodridge.
“Cloverleaf is a great school system,” Portage Trail Conference Commissioner-Assigner Bob Spangler said. “I work a lot of games over there and I have scheduled a lot of games [for referees, umpires and officials]. It is a nice fit for the league where they are on [Route] 224 and they already play some of the schools in nonleague games. Their athletic department has always been great to work with. They are a great addition to the PTC.”
East Canton and Windham left the PTC in 2013. East Canton joined the Inter-Valley Conference and Windham is in the Northeastern Athletic Conference.
Green will be in the Federal League with Canton McKinley, GlenOak, Jackson, Lake, North Canton Hoover and Perry.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.