For 22 years, Rock Creek has been a part of the Mid-East League. Now after recent discussion, that could all change.
For a few years, the Mustangs have been in talks with other leagues, and it is a possibility that Rock Creek could leave the MEL in the future. One of the leagues that Rock Creek is in talks with is the North Central Kansas League, which includes Abilene, Chapman, Clay Center, Concordia, Marysville and Wamego.
Although nothing is set in stone, or even close for that matter, rumors have been spreading around the area and really started to take off after Rock Creek was classified as a 4A high school at the beginning of the year. All the teams in the NCKL are 4A, except for Marysville, which is a 3A school.
“At this point, we’re trying to strengthen our league,” athletic director Scott Harshbarger said. “At the same time, the NCKL is courting us and Riley [County] to strengthen theirs. I have heard both sides of the issue. A lot of people would like to stay in the MEL, but others want a bigger league and better competition now that we are 4A. In the possibility of the already small Mid-East League becoming smaller, we just want to have somewhere to go.”
With the possibility of a move, some Rock Creek coaches and students feel it would be a positive change.
“I would be all right with a move,” head football coach Mike Beam said. “I would hate to leave the MEL, but I feel a league like the NCKL is a more secure league. And, I feel we would fit well in the NCKL, as Rock Creek is getting bigger.”
Some, however, have different views on the issue, including head boys basketball coach Jim Johnston.
“I would be against it right now,” Johnston said. “I’m kinda biased because I grew up in the MEL. It is a great league and has been for many years. It really wouldn’t be right to just jump out of our league. We should be loyal to all the schools who took us in when we needed a league.”
Despite his loyalty to the MEL, Johnston admits that joining the NCKL could still lead to success for the Mustangs.
“We have already been competing against them [NCKL],” Johnston said. “Each league has respective strengths in football and basketball, but I think we could be successful.”
Some individuals see the good in both situations, but do not have a preference.
“I feel a league switch would be the best for our school because we are now 4A, but I’ve made so many good friends in the MEL,” junior Ryan Schneider said.
Nothing on the issue has been decided yet, and will not be until the end of the year, according to Harshbarger. For now, all schedules will stay the same for the remainder of the year. Opinions still vary on the issue, and no one knows for sure what the future status of Rock Creek’s league will be.
“We would like to stay because we have been in the league for many, many years, but on the other hand, we need to do what is best for Rock Creek,” Harshbarger said.
Article and photo by Brett Hammett, Staff Member