PLATTSMOUTH – The possibility of Plattsmouth students participating in a new conference took a major leap forward Monday night with an announcement about the league from several schools.
Six school districts in eastern Nebraska released a statement about their intent to form the Trailblazer Conference. Representatives from Beatrice, Nebraska City, Platteview, Plattsmouth, Ralston and Wahoo said they would join together for Trailblazer Conference action beginning in the 2020-21 academic year.
Plattsmouth and Nebraska City are currently in the Eastern Midlands Conference. Beatrice and Ralston are members of the River Cities Conference, and Platteview and Wahoo are members of the Nebraska Capitol Conference. All six schools will remain in their current leagues for the upcoming 2019-20 campaign.
Plattsmouth Board of Education members voted 7-0 last month to explore leaving the EMC for a new league. Beatrice, Nebraska City, Ralston and Platteview school boards all voted Monday night to join Plattsmouth in the Trailblazer Conference. Wahoo board members are expected to approve the transition to the TBC at their June 17 meeting.
Plattsmouth Superintendent Dr. Richard Hasty made an announcement about the Trailblazer Conference to Plattsmouth board members at the conclusion of their regular monthly meeting Monday night. He said he was looking forward to Plattsmouth being an inaugural member of the new league.
“It’s going to be a good fit for us in academics, athletics and fine arts,” Hasty said. “I think all of the schools are excited about it.”
Hasty said representatives from the six schools recently met in Plattsmouth to talk about items related to the conference. One of those topics of conversation was coming up with a name for the group. Hasty said the panel agreed on Trailblazer Conference to highlight the state’s history and the future opportunities the schools believe will come their way.
“We hosted a meeting here at Plattsmouth and there were several different suggestions for what the name could be,” Hasty said. “The group decided on Trailblazer Conference because there was historical context for trailblazers coming across Nebraska. It also represented the fact that we’re blazing a trail with a new conference. Everyone thought the name fit well.”
Nebraska City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Edwards and Springfield Platteview Community Schools Superintendent Brett Richards both said they felt the six schools would cooperate well in many types of activities.
“The students and families we serve have a great deal in common,” Richards said. “We believe the Trailblazer Conference will open new opportunities to collaborate from students to senior district leadership.”
“From activities and fine arts to academics, middle school competition and professional development, we envision a new level of collaboration,” Edwards said.
Beatrice, Plattsmouth and Ralston are in Class B for all activities. Nebraska City and Platteview are in Class B for most activities but are in either Class C-1 or Class C for several sports. Wahoo is in Class C-1 and Class C for most activities.
Students will travel 90.2 miles from Plattsmouth High School to Beatrice High School via Highways 75, 2, 50 and 136. Wahoo High School is located 57.8 miles from PHS and Nebraska City High School is located 24.3 miles away. It is 23.3 miles from PHS to Ralston High School and 14.8 miles from Plattsmouth to Platteview High School.
Plattsmouth was the second-smallest school in the Eastern Midlands Conference in the 2018-19 academic year. PHS had 196 girls and 228 boys in grades 9-11 for a total of 424 students.
Bennington (214 girls, 237 boys), Blair (249 girls, 280 boys), Elkhorn (441 girls, 471 boys), Gretna (485 girls, 487 boys), Norris (250 girls, 267 boys) and Waverly (226 girls, 237 boys) had larger enrollments than Plattsmouth last year. Nebraska City (161 girls, 156 boys) had a smaller enrollment.
Ralston (391 girls, 421 boys) would be the largest member of the Trailblazer Conference in terms of enrollment in grades 9-11. Beatrice (234 girls, 266 boys), Platteview (133 girls, 157 boys) and Wahoo (90 girls, 136 boys) would join Plattsmouth and Nebraska City in the league.
The EMC will experience several changes over the next two years. The 2018-19 school year was the final one for Gretna in the conference. Gretna will join the Metropolitan High School Activities Association next year due to rapid enrollment growth.
Bennington, Blair, Elkhorn, Nebraska City, Norris, Plattsmouth and Waverly will be EMC members in the 2019-20 season. Elkhorn North will join the league in the 2020-21 campaign.
Beatrice, Elkhorn Mount Michael, Omaha Duchesne, Omaha Gross, Omaha Mercy, Omaha Roncalli, Omaha Skutt, Ralston and South Sioux City will be members of the River Cities Conference in 2019-20.
Arlington, Ashland-Greenwood, Douglas County West, Fort Calhoun, Platteview, Syracuse, Raymond Central and Wahoo will be members of the Nebraska Capitol Conference in 2019-20.
Members of the Trailblazer Conference will hold meetings over the next year to draft bylaws that will cover all educational activities. These bylaws will govern events at both middle and high school levels. The six-team league would hold conference tournaments and competitions and would form partnerships in academic areas.