The Treynor Community School District has been in preliminary discussions with the Hawkeye Ten Conference about becoming its 12th member.
Council Bluffs St. Albert became the 11th member of the league at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. At that time, the Hawkeye Ten sent out letters to selected schools it felt might be a potential 12th member.
In recent months, Treynor officials have contacted those in the Hawkeye Ten hierarchy, and there have been several “feeling-out” conversations.
Treynor was a charter member when the Western Iowa Conference was formed in 1971. However, Treynor Activities Director Tim Navara said it’s the school’s responsibility to keep its students’ best interests in mind.
“For as long as the Western Iowa Conference has been around, we’ve been one of the members,” Treynor Activities Director Tim Navara said. “There’s no hard feelings. We just want to make sure we’re doing what we think and believe is the best for our student-athletes and for our students. So we’re just doing an inquiry to see if it would be advantageous to slide to a different conference.”
Denison-Schleswig Principal Dave Wiebers is the president of the Hawkeye Ten’s Board of Control, which consists of the 11 league principals. He said, “It’s always been a push, I think, of the conference to try and get back to an even number.”
Navara said Treynor remains in discussions with its administrators, school board and coaches.
“Hopefully by the beginning of spring we’ve made our decision,” he said. “If it turns out that it would be advantageous for us, then we would send in a formal application to the Hawkeye Ten, and then it’s up to them if they accept us or not.”
If Treynor formally applies, Wiebers said, league activities directors would meet and discuss a variety of issues, including scheduling. Then they would make a written recommendation to the Board of Control. Wiebers said if an application is received, all of the schools would discuss the merits of a 12th member with their superintendents and school boards. A final vote would be taken by the Board of the Control. A two-thirds majority would be needed to accept the 12th member, which would be eight of the 11 schools.
The Western Iowa Conference is a nine-team league, as Griswold left for the Corner Conference prior to this school year.
WIC schools must give one year of notice prior to leaving. Navara said if Treynor applies and is accepted, it likely would make its last tour through the WIC in 2019-20 and begin participation in the Hawk-10 in 2020-21.
Football is not a factor in Treynor’s decision to apply to the Hawk-10. It is played under a district format, so conference affiliation has no bearing.
If it applies and is accepted, Treynor would become the 11th-largest of the 12 schools, with St. Albert being the smallest. Treynor currently is the third-largest in the WIC, behind Underwood and Missouri Valley.
The Cardinals have the strongest top-to-bottom athletic reputation in the WIC. Navara said challenging each program is an important factor.
“We believe we can compete with anybody,” he said. “We have a great community backing for our programs. We always bring lots of people to the games to support our Cardinals. By scheduling us, you’re not going to drop off with any type of attendance.”
Wiebers, a longtime activities director at Denison, said any forward-looking school district strives to keep a strong conference affiliation, and that’s what Hawkeye Ten members have always striven to do.
“You’ve got to make sure you protect your conference, because I’ve lived the life of an independent in the ’90s, and it’s no fun,” he said.
Wiebers said at the last Board of Control meeting that no Hawk-10 representatives were looking to leave the league. Denison-Schleswig Activities Director Derek Fink said no members expressed interest in leaving at the last A.D. meeting.
Navara said Treynor simply wants to give its athletes the best chance for success, wherever that lies.
“We want to be preparing ourselves for what every kid wants to do, which is go to a state tournament,” he said. “So we’re looking athletically, saying, ‘What is the best way we can get our kids ready?’”