On Tuesday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the formation of a new high school athletic league that will include both Fayette County school districts.
Miami Trace, Washington Court House, Chillicothe, Greenfield McClain, Hillsboro and Jackson will participate in the Frontier Athletic Conference beginning in the fall of 2017.
The Conference Board of Control, consisting of high school principals from each school, along with their athletic directors voted to approve the conference name in September. Anticipated sports vying for league titles will be as follows:
– Fall: Boys’ Cross Country, Girls’ Cross Country, Boys’ Golf, Girls’ Golf, Football, Boys’ Soccer, Girls’ Soccer, Girls’ Tennis and Volleyball.
– Winter: Boys’ Bowling, Girls’ Bowling, Boys’ Basketball, Girls’ Basketball, Boys’ Swimming, Girls’ Swimming, and Wrestling.
– Spring: Baseball, Softball, Boys’ Tennis, and Boys’ and Girls’ Track and Field.
The board of control also named Ms. Terri Tutt as the conference commissioner. She comes to the position having been a coach, referee, athletic director, member of the Southeast District Athletic Board, and OHSAA Field Service Representative.
Moving forward from this point, the commissioner and athletic directors will be writing bylaws for approval by the board of control. The goal is to have the Frontier Athletic Conference operational by Jan. 1, 2017.
The commissioner, board of control, and the athletic directors said they are excited to bring a quality league together and look forward to great sportsmanship and competition in the future of the Frontier Athletic Conference. The conference hopes to have a working relationship with all area leagues and conferences, and looks forward to Aug. 1, 2017, as the fall season begins initial contests in the Frontier Athletic Conference.
“We’re very excited,” Washington High School Athletic Director Jon Creamer said. “I think (the new league) is going to be a neat thing for our kids and neat for our community.”
The league is going to start out with six teams, just as the most recent incarnation of the SCOL began with six schools just after the turn of the century.
“Obviously, six teams is not ideal,” Creamer said. “Eight would be a little more ideal. We have complete confidence in our new commissioner. One of the things she’s going to be doing is looking at what other schools are out there to fill those two positions. Just from a scheduling standpoint, from a league standpoint, eight is a nice number (of schools to have in a league).
“I think Terri Tutt is definitely the person to do that,” Creamer said. “There was no hesitation in terms of her becoming the commissioner of our new league. I think (the new league) is going to be a great thing for our kids, for our school and for our community.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” Creamer said. “And, we certainly wish (Wilmington, Clinton-Massie and East Clinton) the best in their new league (the Southern Buckeye Conference). We have enjoyed our partnership with them and wish them good luck.”
“Right now (the schools) are on the same page with the new league,” Washington City Schools Superintendent Matthew McCorkle said. “The excitement is still there and (the schools) all really work well together. It was nice to see this come together as easy as it has.”
Miami Trace High School Athletic Director Aaron Hammond spoke about the FAC’s new commissioner.
“Terri Tutt used to be the athletic director at Huntington High School (Ross County),” Hammond said. “She has also served on the Southeast District board, which is the governing board for our region.
“Terri is also an OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) field representative,” Hammond said. “So, she also has worked out of the state office. Terri is very well-connected in southeastern Ohio.”
Folks may not know much about Jackson High School.
Their athletic nickname is the Ironmen. JHS is the only public high school in Jackson County and their school colors are red and white.
Jackson is a city with a population of 6,397 (at the 2010 census) and it is the county seat of Jackson County.
Jackson County shares a border with the following counties: Ross, Vinton, Gallia, Lawrence, Scioto and Pike.
The primary travel route for Fayette Countians visiting Jackson is just to take US 35 east past Chillicothe and continue until you see the exit sign for Jackson. It is approximately 30 miles from Chillicothe to Jackson.
“We’re very excited about being one of the charter members of the Frontier Athletic Conference, alongside Washington Court House, two Highland County schools, McClain and Hillsboro and one Ross County school, Chillicothe, and Jackson High School,” Hammond said.
“We’re starting out with six original members,” Hammond said. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to continue some of the relationships with the schools that have been in (the SCOL) and also adding the new partner in Jackson High School.
“Jackson has an outstanding athletic program,” Hammond said. “If you’ve not been to (Jackson High School), their facilities are very nice; probably among the best in southeastern Ohio. They have a beautiful football stadium. They were one of the first schools in all of Ohio, not just southeastern Ohio, to have a turf football field. That field was replaced this past summer, so they have a new turf field, beautiful stands. They have three auxiliary gyms right by their competition gym.
“Facility-wise and from a competitive aspect, as well, we felt Jackson fit with the other five schools,” Hammond said. “We’re very excited about the start of the league in August.
“We’re starting with six schools, but we’re potentially looking at expansion down the road,” Hammond said. “Ideally, we will have an eight school league, but that will be a couple of years into our future.
“With a six team league, there are some scheduling challenges,” Hammond said. Not the least of which will be finding opponents to fill weeks four and five of the varsity football schedule.
“We also may see some new teams on our schedule as we reach out to different areas,” Hammond said. “We also hope to be able to continue some of our traditional rivalries with teams that have long been on our schedules.
“I think the future is bright for the FAC,” Hammond said. “Miami Trace has enjoyed its time in the SCOL, but, beginning on August 1, 2017, we will a member of the Frontier Athletic Conference.
“I wish (Wilmington, Clinton-Massie and East Clinton) well in their new league,” Hammond said.
“We are very excited about our inclusion in the new Frontier Athletic Conference and the opportunities it will provide for our student-athletes,” said Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis. “We look forward to positive long-term relationships with the other five member districts and the possibilities for future expansion.”