Elmwood Otsego boys basketball 2021

File. Elmwood junior Bryce Reynolds, left, has the ball stripped away while driving to the basket by Otsego senior Noah Dzierwa during the second quarter Saturday night at Elmwood. 

JERRY CITY — Elmwood Local Schools will be leaving the Northern Buckeye Conference.

The Royals will join the Blanchard Valley Conference effective with the 2023-24 school year or sooner.

The vote at Monday’s board of education meeting was unanimous.

“We believe this is what’s best for the future of our athletics,” said Superintendent Tony Borton.

He said Elmwood has been looking at its options for a year and a half.

“We have looked at starting new. We have looked at other leagues in the area,” he said, “just trying to see what’s out there.”

Coaches who attended the board meeting also were in favor of the move.

Football coach Greg Bishop said for his program, it’s good for both competition and longevity.

He said junior varsity and freshman competitions will be easier to schedule in the BVC.

In the NBC this past year, Elmwood was one of the only schools that had a freshman team, he said.

“It was a struggle finding games,” he said.

“I think this is a very good thing for all of our athletics,” Bishop said. “It’s not about one sport, it’s about all of our sports.”

The BVC includes Arcadia, Arlington, Cory-Rawson, Leipsic, Liberty-Benton, McComb, North Baltimore, Pandora-Gilboa, Riverdale, Van Buren and Vanlue.

Kyle Reiser, who coaches baseball, said he was all for the move.

“We need to be proactive with this. … What it does is offer me, if I have a very good team, I can schedule a lot of non-leagues games that I can’t do now in the NBC,” he said.

For basketball and baseball, the NBC follows a round-robin format with every school playing each other twice during the season.

“We’re not getting a lot of exposure to a lot of other schools that we would have access to. The NBC schedule is kind of restrictive,” said high school Principal Ty Traxler.

That cuts down on the amount of competition, said Traxler, who also coaches boys basketball.

What he finds appealing with the move is the single round of games.

“To me, as a high school basketball coach, that is exciting,” he said, “because every time you play a league game, it creates a tournament-like atmosphere.

“You can’t lose that game because that is the only time you will see that team.”

It also will allow Elmwood to fill its schedule with non-league teams.

With the BVC, Reiser can schedule baseball games against Perrysburg or Anthony Wayne if he wants that kind of competition.

“I am totally on board with this,” he said.

The move to the BVC will allow games against more teams of similar size, and Elmwood would be entering a very prestigious boys basketball league, Traxler said.

Competitively, it may be a downgrade with some of the smaller schools, but in the end it offers more challenges for the boys and girls basketball programs, he said.

Track coach Darren Morrison was asked about the competition level in the BVC.

“Looking at both leagues, you’re looking at Eastwood and Liberty-Benton being a similar animal,” Morrison said. “They’re always top of their league in track, they’re always sending a bunch of people to state, they have great tradition. … That’s kind of an even trade.”

It’s still good competition, said Morrison, who used to coach at Pandora-Gilboa. He said Elmwood is a better fit with the BVC teams.

Borton summed up a conversation he had with Reiser.

“With all the chaos in the leagues in Northwest Ohio, we have two options: we can get ahead of the chaos, or we wait and see where it all goes,” Borton said.

“Without a doubt, we want to get ahead of it. We want to choose.”

He alluded to the turmoil leagues across the area are facing. The NLL announced recently thatit is considering expanding into two divisions with 16 schools total.

“We want a chance to control our own destiny,” Reiser said. “I think we have the ability instead of waiting for somebody else’s decisions to affect what we should do.”

Traxler said it also is good to ingrain Elmwood in larger news outlets which have an Associated Press vote when it comes time for all-state awards.

“The stability of the BVC is definitely intriguing, it’s a stable conference … and they are ecstatic to have us,” Traxler said.

Elmwood was an after-thought when it joined the NBC, and the district was an add-on to that league, he said.

Athletic Director Kevin Wolfe, who joined Elmwood in August, said success breeds success and everyone wins with this decision.

“I don’t think there will be any hard feelings … and we’d got to look at what’s best for our future here,” Wolfe said.

While the resolution says the move would occur in two years, Borton was optimistic it could happen in the 2022-23 school year.

Borton said it is a matter of the NBC allowing them to leave.

“I think they will let us out,” he said. “Easily we’re here through next year, possibly two years. It’s really up to the (league).”

The principals would make that decision, but one of the ways they would let Elmwood leave early is if a replacement team was found earlier, said NBC Commissioner Dave Bringman.

“It’s a protection for schedules,” he said.

Future competitions will depend on the NBC getting an eighth team, Bringman said.

He couldn’t say whether it will be challenging to find a new team as he hasn’t had any conversations with the league’s high school principals.

“We’re committed to an eight-team league at this point,” Bringman said.

“Every so many years, people look for movement and once you have movement … everybody starts looking,” he said, alluding to what the NLL is proposing.

“This is something with the smaller schools, they’ve been looking for three or four years.”

Board member Debbie Reynolds wondered if it would hurt Elmwood to play so many Division IV schools.

“We have the opportunity with the BVC schedule to strengthen our non-league schedule,” Traxler said, in addition to a tough league schedule.

Reynolds also asked for an update on Woodmore schools.

Borton said he thinks Elmwood’s departure from the NBC will create a domino effect.

The NBC includes Eastwood, Genoa, Fostoria, Lake, Otsego, Rossford and Woodmore.

The move is for all of the student-athletes, not just one student, Reiser said.

“This is scary,” Traxler said, adding that they have been tied to some schools in the NBC since the 1970s, but the decision should focus on facts not emotions.

Reynolds said there were six or seven parents who wanted to attend the meeting to voice their opposition to the move.

They feel like this will be the end of their athletic program, she said, specifically the girls basketball program.

Reynolds’ husband, Doug, is the head girls basketball coach. The team is tied for first place in the league with an 11-2 record.

Monica Arnold, who is an assistant track coach and former track athlete for the Royals, said it comes down to a decision that is based on what’s best for all student-athletes.

“We just can’t look at one sport. We have to look at the whole general population of Elmwood,” she said.


JERRY CITY — Elmwood Local Schools will be leaving the Northern Buckeye Conference. 

The Royals will join the Blanchard Valley Conference effective with the 2023-24 school year or sooner. 

The vote at Monday’s board of education meeting was unanimous. 

“We believe this is what’s best for the future of our athletics,” said Superintendent Tony Borton. 

He said Elmwood has been looking at its options for a year and a half. 

“We have looked at starting new. We have looked at other leagues in the area,” he said, “just trying to see what’s out there.” 

Coaches who attended the board meeting also were in favor of the move. 

Football coach Greg Bishop said for his program, it’s good for both competition and longevity. 

He said junior varsity and freshman competitions will be easier to schedule in the BVC. 

In the NBC this past year, Elmwood was one of the only schools that had a freshman team, he said. 

“It was a struggle finding games,” he said. 

“I think this is a very good thing for all of our athletics,” Bishop said. “It’s not about one sport, it’s about all of our sports.” 

The BVC includes Arcadia, Arlington, Cory-Rawson, Leipsic, Liberty-Benton, McComb, North Baltimore, Pandora-Gilboa, Riverdale, Van Buren and Vanlue. 

Kyle Reiser, who coaches baseball, said he was all for the move. 

“We need to be proactive with this. … What it does is offer me, if I have a very good team, I can schedule a lot of non-leagues games that I can’t do now in the NBC,” he said. 

For basketball and baseball, the NBC follows a round-robin format with every school playing each other twice during the season. 

“We’re not getting a lot of exposure to a lot of other schools that we would have access to. The NBC schedule is kind of restrictive,” said high school Principal Ty Traxler. 

That cuts down on the amount of competition, said Traxler, who also coaches boys basketball. 

What he finds appealing with the move is the single round of games. 

“To me, as a high school basketball coach, that is exciting,” he said, “because every time you play a league game, it creates a tournament-like atmosphere. 

“You can’t lose that game because that is the only time you will see that team.” 

It also will allow Elmwood to fill its schedule with non-league teams. 

With the BVC, Reiser can schedule baseball games against Perrysburg or Anthony Wayne if he wants that kind of competition. 

“I am totally on board with this,” he said. 

The move to the BVC will allow games against more teams of similar size, and Elmwood would be entering a very prestigious boys basketball league, Traxler said. 

Competitively, it may be a downgrade with some of the smaller schools, but in the end it offers more challenges for the boys and girls basketball programs, he said. 

Track coach Darren Morrison was asked about the competition level in the BVC. 

“Looking at both leagues, you’re looking at Eastwood and Liberty-Benton being a similar animal,” Morrison said. “They’re always top of their league in track, they’re always sending a bunch of people to state, they have great tradition. … That’s kind of an even trade.” 

It’s still good competition, said Morrison, who used to coach at Pandora-Gilboa. He said Elmwood is a better fit with the BVC teams. 

Borton summed up a conversation he had with Reiser. 

“With all the chaos in the leagues in Northwest Ohio, we have two options: we can get ahead of the chaos, or we wait and see where it all goes,” Borton said. 

“Without a doubt, we want to get ahead of it. We want to choose.” 

He alluded to the turmoil leagues across the area are facing. The NLL announced recently thatit is considering expanding into two divisions with 16 schools total. 

“We want a chance to control our own destiny,” Reiser said. “I think we have the ability instead of waiting for somebody else’s decisions to affect what we should do.” 

Traxler said it also is good to ingrain Elmwood in larger news outlets which have an Associated Press vote when it comes time for all-state awards. 

“The stability of the BVC is definitely intriguing, it’s a stable conference … and they are ecstatic to have us,” Traxler said. 

Elmwood was an after-thought when it joined the NBC, and the district was an add-on to that league, he said. 

Athletic Director Kevin Wolfe, who joined Elmwood in August, said success breeds success and everyone wins with this decision. 

“I don’t think there will be any hard feelings … and we’d got to look at what’s best for our future here,” Wolfe said. 

While the resolution says the move would occur in two years, Borton was optimistic it could happen in the 2022-23 school year. 

Borton said it is a matter of the NBC allowing them to leave. 

“I think they will let us out,” he said. “Easily we’re here through next year, possibly two years. It’s really up to the (league).” 

The principals would make that decision, but one of the ways they would let Elmwood leave early is if a replacement team was found earlier, said NBC Commissioner Dave Bringman. 

“It’s a protection for schedules,” he said. 

Future competitions will depend on the NBC getting an eighth team, Bringman said. 

He couldn’t say whether it will be challenging to find a new team as he hasn’t had any conversations with the league’s high school principals. 

“We’re committed to an eight-team league at this point,” Bringman said. 

“Every so many years, people look for movement and once you have movement … everybody starts looking,” he said, alluding to what the NLL is proposing. 

“This is something with the smaller schools, they’ve been looking for three or four years.” 

Board member Debbie Reynolds wondered if it would hurt Elmwood to play so many Division IV schools. 

“We have the opportunity with the BVC schedule to strengthen our non-league schedule,” Traxler said, in addition to a tough league schedule. 

Reynolds also asked for an update on Woodmore schools. 

Borton said he thinks Elmwood’s departure from the NBC will create a domino effect. 

The NBC includes Eastwood, Genoa, Fostoria, Lake, Otsego, Rossford and Woodmore. 

The move is for all of the student-athletes, not just one student, Reiser said. 

“This is scary,” Traxler said, adding that they have been tied to some schools in the NBC since the 1970s, but the decision should focus on facts not emotions. 

Reynolds said there were six or seven parents who wanted to attend the meeting to voice their opposition to the move. 

They feel like this will be the end of their athletic program, she said, specifically the girls basketball program. 

Reynolds’ husband, Doug, is the head girls basketball coach. The team is tied for first place in the league with an 11-2 record. 

Monica Arnold, who is an assistant track coach and former track athlete for the Royals, said it comes down to a decision that is based on what’s best for all student-athletes. 

“We just can’t look at one sport. We have to look at the whole general population of Elmwood,” she said.