Prep Sports

Report: DeWitt Central accepted by the MAC

Departure, likely in the fall of 2020, will leave the Wamac with 13 schools

DeWitt Central Sabers
DeWitt Central Sabers

Thirteen in ‘20. That appears to be the future status of the Wamac Conference, on the heels of the news that the Mississippi Athletic Conference has accepted DeWitt Central.

According to a report by the Quad-City Times, MAC principals voted 9-0 Wednesday to accept Central’s request to join.

Central’s move will increase MAC membership to 10; the Wamac will become a league of 13 schools, unless somebody else departs or someone enters.

“We have a number of options,” Mount Vernon Athletics Director Matt Thede said. “We’re a strong conference that has a lot to offer if somebody wants to jump in and take (Central’s) place.

“We’re not going to panic. We still have 13 schools that are highly competitive."

But 13 is not an optimal number for scheduling. No odd number is.

“We’d like to have an even number, but we’ve made it work before,” Williamsburg AD Curt Ritchie said. “Last time we had an opening, there wasn’t any interest. Travel and location, it limits you a little.”

Thede said, “The next plan of attack is to see if there’s anybody that makes sense geographically, with the combination of having the level of play and size of school that will be compatible.”

Central likely will leave for the MAC at the conclusion of the 2019-20 sports season.

It is the third school to depart in a two-year span; Western Dubuque is in its first year in the Mississippi Valley Conference; same with Anamosa and the River Valley Conference.

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Central’s departure will leave Maquoketa on a geographical island. Its shortest trip in the Wamac will be 50 miles — west to Mount Vernon or northwest to Dyersville Beckman.

But AD Tom Gruenwald said when the Central-to-the-MAC process began last year that Maquoketa was “committed to the Wamac.

“It fits us best across the board. We will stay in the Wamac as long as the Wamac is the most viable option for us, and for the time being, it is.”

In terms of enrollment, Beckman is by far the smallest school in the Wamac. Beckman AD Todd Troutman has reaffirmed on multiple occasions that the league’s lone private school has no plans to leave.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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