The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 14, 2014

PAC-ing up

2014-15 will be Geneva’s swan song in its current conference as it will head to the CVC in fall of ’15

When several schools in the Premier Athletic Conference decided they need to shake things up, they chose to alter the membership a bit. Geneva was extended an opportunity to stay with the league, but chose to do something a bit more radical.

It struck out on its own in hopes of finding a new home.

The Chagrin Valley Conference came calling and the Geneva braintrust answered.

“Geneva started looking (for a new league) once we heard what was going on,” Eagles athletic director Jen Crossley said. “We tried to build something for ourselves that was a bit more economical with some of the Ashtabula County schools and a couple good neighbors to the west.

“It didn’t work out. Then we got a call from, I think, Perry, who said (the CVC) might be looking for a school. We started to entertain the idea once we couldn’t get anything else done.”

Beginning in the fall of 2015, Geneva will be a member of what is currently the CVC’s Chagrin Division. It should be a good fit.

“We were invited to the Western Reserve (the rebranded PAC),” Crossley said. “We did entertain the idea, but knowing the league, we knew we wouldn’t be very successful. That was the reason we were looking for a better fit.

“As far as competitiveness, we feel we should be very competitive in the league with both the boys’ and girls’ teams.

“I feel very comfortable with the league. I feel we will be just as competitive as the other schools. We have a lot to offer. We’ll be one of the larger schools, where in the PAC, we were one of the smaller ones.”

The Eagles will know a good number of the schools they will compete with in the CVC as they have played many of them for a long time.

“I think that was also helpful for Beachwood, Chagrin Falls and Independence, who didn’t know us,” Crossley said. “The other programs we’ve played, like Orange, Perry and West Geauga, said we were a good fit. Playing some of these schools helped us.

“They were able to convince the rest of the league that we were a good fit for them.”

It didn’t hurt Geneva to have some of the facilities it has in place already.

“The discussions I was part of, nobody talked about facilities,” Crossley said. “I’m sure it played a role. Not having a track, which was the case before we had Spire, would have had something to do with it. Though we didn’t talk about it, most everyone is aware of the facilities we have, which is a positive thing.”

Building new rivalries and adding to ones that are already in place is something Crossley looks forward to.

“I hope we can build some new rivalries,” she said. “We have some tradition in place with Harvey having been a member of the (Northeastern Conference) with us and also with Perry.

“We’ll miss the rivalries with some of the PAC schools. Some of them are keeping us on the schedule for 2015. We’ll still play Madison and Chardon in football. I like to see that, too.”

The move from the PAC to the CVC will be a little more difficult in regards to travel, but it’s a concession Geneva is very willing to make given the alternatives.

“Most of the schools are right off the freeway,” Crossley said. “They’re fairly easy to get to. Unfortunately, as far as travel, that’s what almost everyone in Ashtabula County is going south or driving west, unless you’re Conneaut, who has nowhere to go. That’s where everything is leading with everyone going far outside the county. That’s the unfortunate side of things.

“It’s going to be a little harder on the budgets – Orange and Independence are a little farther. But on the junior high level, we’re trying to schedule things for logistics instead of competitive balance, which is important on the high school level. That will help budgets.

“We’re just happy to be in a league. The other option is not being in a league, so we’ll deal with tighter budgets.”

Crossley hasn’t really had a chance to discuss the move much with the coaching staffs, but she is fairly certain they will be OK with the move.

“They all pretty much knew what was going on as far as the PAC,” Crossley said. “They were all on board with trying to secure a league. I guess they trusted the principal and that we’d make the decision that was in the best interest of our kids, which is the most important thing.”

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

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