That didn’t take long.
After only a couple years in the competitive West Shore Conference, the athletic programs at Lakewood High School are switching gears and joining the Southwestern Conference.
Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, the Rangers will join Midview High School as the newest members of the conference, bringing the total to 10.
“For scheduling purposes, it’s easier for us — particularly in football,” said Kevin Bright, the assistant superintendent at the Lakewood City Schools.
Another plus, he said, is that all of the teams are Division 1 or Division 2. In the West Shore, there are a couple Division 3 teams, making state rankings more difficult for the Division 1 squads.
“This equalizes the competition for us,” Bright said. “It’s a good opportunity.”
With the additional of Lakewood and Midview, the conference will now include Amherst Steele, Avon Lake, Berea, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Midpark, North Olmsted, Olmsted Falls and Westlake.
However, next year, Berea and Midpark are merging schools.
Starting in 2015, the Southwestern Conference will operate with 10 teams for the first time in its long history, dating back to its inception in 1937.
“The addition of these two fine schools adds to the long-term stability of the conference,” said Michael McCarthy, the commissioner of the Southwestern Conference.
“These two schools both have fine reputations for their academic, co-curricular and athletic programs. In addition, both of these schools have outstanding physical facilities and provide a major positive addition to the conference.”
Bright said Lakewood will miss competing against rival Rocky River, but contests between the schools may still be scheduled.
“We look forward to being a part of the new league. We wish the teams in the West Shore (Conference) well. We’ve our enjoyed our participation, even if it was for a short period of time.”