Lake Conference Welcomes New Additions

Zaid Elbaroudi

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Saint-Michael Albertville (STMA) and Buffalo High School have joined the Lake Conference, bringing the conference total to seven schools. The old conference was Wayzata, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Edina, and Hopkins.

According to Activities Director Jaime Sherwood, the ideal number of schools in a conference is eight to ten. 

Conferences are loosely organized. In some cases, individual sports teams from the same high school participate in different conferences depending upon available competition and the historical competitiveness of certain teams.

The number of students at STMA and Buffalo has grown to match those of the Lake Conference. STMA Activities Director Keith Cornell said,“When I came here 20 years ago, there were 700 kids at our school. Now there are 2200.”

STMA and Buffalo were previously in the Mississippi Eight Conference. The departures reduce that conference to eight schools.

According to several coaches, the addition of STMA will bring highly anticipated competition to the schools in the Lake conference. The addition of the new teams will provide 16-20 additional conference matchups, said Sherwood.

STMA Head Coach Jerrod Essler said, “We’re really excited to get full lower level games. We will get 9A, 9B, full JV games, and 10A. Our participation number weren’t able to provide 6 football games a week, now we’re excited to play 6 games a week.”

In previous years the Lake Conference couldn’t provide enough opponents, forcing schools to set up non-conference matchups to fill their schedules. In 2010, powerhouse Eden Prairie played a team from Canada in order to have a game.

For several other years, Wayzata set up out-of-state games with teams as far away as Wisconsin and Illinois.

Wayzata will not play Buffalo in a majority of the sports, according to Sherwood. Football is generally scheduled with teams who are in the same section or district rather than conference. Wayzata already plays STMA because they are in the metro district which is the district Wayzata is in. Buffalo is in the north central district, so Wayzata will not compete with them in some sports. 

 “We feel like when you look at our test scores and the variety of activities we have, the Lake Conference is where we belong,” said Cornell.

“A lot of our programs are growing. We have five levels of baseball. Most of the schools we play only have three levels of baseball. Joining was really an opportunity for our kids as well,” said Cornell.

STMA and Wayzata are also two powerhouse wrestling teams. The teams will see each other very early in the playoffs, which would usually limit the teams from going as far as they should in the playoffs. 

Wayzata Wrestling Coach Eric Swenson said “STMA is a powerhouse that has won state and has won their section 18 times in a row. This changes the conference dramatically.”

 “Adding more schools to our conference brings a lot of friendly rivalries in our community. This also gives our principals chances to meet up and talk about the success of our schools,” said Sherwood.