Welcome to the Northeast Ohio Conference, Shaker.
As of this fall, the high school has officially joined the NOC, replacing the Lakewood Rangers, who left the NOC at the end of 2010-2011. Before 2012-2013, Shaker was a member of the Lake Erie League. All Shaker sports, excluding field hockey, hockey and lacrosse, are now competing in the NOC.
According to Principal Michael Griffith, Shaker’s move to the NOC was prompted when Mentor left the LEL in 2010, making the LEL a predominately African-American league, which Griffith said “didn’t represent Shaker’s diversity.”
Athletic Director Don Readance said that when the opportunity arose, Shaker hadn’t been actively looking to leave the LEL. However, when Lakewood left the NOC, Readance said he did some research on the conference and its member schools. Based on that research, Superintendent Mark Freeman made the ultimate decision to switch Shaker’s affiliation to the NOC.
The conference brings new and improved competition to Shaker sports. Readance said that the conference will provide more competition in minor sports, such as soccer, tennis and golf, for which the LEL lacked adequate competition. The NOC’s three-division setup, with team promotion and demotion from one division to another, will also provide more equitable competition for Shaker teams.
Women’s soccer coach Tom Fowler belives the move will be a positive change. “The NOC will provide a more consistent and competitive league environment from year to year,” he said.
Women’s cross country coach Dave Englander expects the switch to bring out his team’s competitive instincts. He said, “Because of the caliber of the other teams, I feel we will be more highly motivated for the championship.”
A version of this article appeared in print on 19 September 2012 on page 15 of The Shakerite