Friday, January 14, 2000

Lebanon again part of conference it co-founded




BY SUE KIESEWETTER
Enquirer Contributor

        SPRINGBORO — It's unanimous. The Lebanon Warriors will return to the Mid-Miami League in 2001.

        Principals at the MML schools Thursday approved, without opposition, allowing Lebanon to rejoin the league it co-founded in 1954 but left in 1997 to join the Fort Ancient Valley Conference (FAVC).

        “We feel a lot of confidence going in, knowing people wanted us back,” said Dave Brausch, Lebanon's athletic director and head football coach. “We're ready to go.”

        Earlier this week, the Lebanon Board of Education agreed to apply for membership in the MML. School officials and coaches cited a variety of reasons for wanting to return to the MML, including less travel, more publicity, bigger crowds, and traditional rivalries.

        “We're excited to have them rejoin the MML,” said MML Commissioner Steve Parks. “It will bring back natural rivalries and more competition.”

Rotate divisions
        For the first two seasons, Lebanon will be assigned a spot in the MML North, said Jack Poore, MML president and Springboro High principal. They would be joined by Carroll, Miamisburg, Stebbins, Springboro and Fairborn.

        Depending on the league make-up, Lebanon would then spend two years in the MML South as part of a league rotation schedule aimed at beefing up MML South.

        “We like the North division, size-wise. It provides us the best opportunity to play schools close to our size and close geographically,” Mr. Brausch said Thursday. “They'll have three Division One schools. We should be Division One by then.”

        Mr. Brausch said Lebanon will still maintain ties to FAVC schools by scheduling as many non-league games as possible with with Kings, Mason and Little Miami.

"Competitive program'
        “Lebanon brings to us a very competitive program. ... They have a strong administrative team, good athletes and they bring a good crowd,” Mr. Poore said.

        Joining the MML puts Lebanon in the same league as football powerhouse Edgewood, which defeated them last year in the playoffs. If the MML approves a championship series now under study, Edgewood — in MML South - and Lebanon in MML North — could face one another in the future.

        “Edgewood and Lebanon have always enjoyed great competition, especially in football but also in other sports,” said Dave Hazelwood, Edgewood's athletic director. “There would be some great moments."

        Mason Athletic Director Rod Russell said he wishes Lebanon well in its new league and hopes both schools' schedules will allow competition to continue, even non-league.

        “We've always played them in the past. I always thought they were a good member of the league,” Mr. Russell said. “We're going to be trying to play more Cincinnati Division One schools, so we'll see if we have any open dates.”

       



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