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High School conference change to affect Hastings

This spring, the Classic Suburban high school conference made the decision to disband. Many of these schools, including Simley, Henry Sibley, South St. Paul, Tartan and North will join to form a new conference in the place of the CSC. The decision to disband will take place beginning in the 2014-15 school year, and will impact the structure of local high school sports, including Hastings.

Hastings is currently a member of the Suburban East conference, formerly known as the St. Paul Suburban conference, but is one of eight schools that has committed to forming the new conference, which has yet to be named..

Tom Johnson, Athletic Director for Hastings High School says the change in conference will benefit Hastings athletes and parents. According to Johnson, the average roundtrip travel to games in the St. Paul Suburban conference is 55 miles. As a part of the new, conference, it would drop to about 42 miles. That means that athletes can take less time out of school before games, and get home earlier after games. In addition to being closer to Hastings in proximity, Johnson said the new conference is made up of schools more similar in size to HHS, and with more similar offerings. He said the new conference will also share Hastings' focus on middle school sports.

Another major factor in the decision to join the new conference is Hastings' relationship with the other schools in the new conference. Prior to joining the Suburban East Conference 12 years ago, Hastings spent many years in a conference with schools such as Simley, Henry Sibley and South St. Paul. Johnson said joining the new conference with these schools will be like "going back home." Johnson also noted that HHS is not switching conferences in an attempt to win more games. "It's about providing a competitive experience, not winning contests." Johnson said.

When a conference disbands, member schools have two options. They can form a new conference, or apply for admission to an existing conference. Schools from outside the CSC also have the option to apply for admission to the new conference. Upon application to a conference, leaders from each school vote to decide whether it will be allowed. Among Schools that have applied to the new conference is Park High School in Cottage Grove. Park was approved to join the new conference, but has not made their final decision yet. Johnson said he expects to hear from Park relatively soon, as planning for the new conference will begin with meetings in August. For the coming school year, Johnson says HHS will remain a dedicated member of the St. Paul Suburban conference. "Over the last 12 years, The Suburban East conference has been a good home, but we also look forward to trying something new for the 2014-15 school year."