The ACCHS Tigers will make the move to the Northeast Kansas League starting with the 2018 school year.

It’s a great move for the school’s athletics. Based off of last year’s enrollment numbers, the Tigers will fall right in the middle of the NEK in terms of size after being dead last in the Big 7. ACCHS had almost 140 fewer students than Holton last year. They had just 53 fewer students than Pleasant Ridge — the biggest NEK school in 2016-17 — last year.

A bigger enrollment doesn’t always mean more victories in sports, but it certainly puts teams on a more even playing field. ACCHS Athletic Director said switching leagues makes sense in terms of competition.

“We’re close in proximity to most of the schools in the NEK and size wise we match up,” he said.

Wallisch also noted that he doesn’t feel like the NEK is a lesser league compared to the Big 7. He even mentioned that some NEK teams have beaten ACCHS fairly well in different sports the last few years. But I agree with him in that this move will be an overall positive for Tigers athletics.

This move also means the regular return of a great county rivalry. MH-MA and ACCHS will meet in every sport, every season. This is good for the schools and the communities because it brings out so much passion.

Two of my favorite games I’ve covered in my time as sports editor at the Globe have been ACCHS and MH-MA tilts; one was in girls’ basketball and one was boys’ basketball. The atmosphere for both games was incredible. That electric atmosphere is so much better than a quiet gym.

Both games only happened because the schools happened to match up in sub-state. Now, we’ll get to experience that every year.

I have a selfish reason to like this move, too. Coverage for the area schools just got a lot easier for the Globe. When MH-MA plays against JCN, I know I’ll get to cover two schools in one swoop. Now, that sort of thing will happen more often with another local school in the NEK.

This was a move ACCHS really wanted to happen and it’s a great move for the school, teams and players. Since Immaculata closed its doors this spring and the NEK was down one school, adding ACCHS was a smart move for the league, too.

Adam Gardner can be reached at adam.gardner@npgco.com.

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