SIDNEY — With the breakup of the Cross County Conference and teams leaving the Southwestern Buckeye League to join the two new conferences being formed next year, it has created an opportunity for the Lehman Catholic tennis program it hasn’t had for 20 years.
Seven schools from three conferences have gone together to form an unofficial league with a postseason tournament and the winner receiving a traveling trophy, beginning next season.
“It is going to be great for the kids,” Lehman Catholic boys and girls tennis coach Tim Ungericht said. “It is going to give them something else to play for. We haven’t been in a league since we were in the SRC (2001).”
The league will be made up of Lehman, Milton-Union and Northridge for the new Three Rivers Conference, Preble Shawnee and Dixie from the new Western Ohio Athletic conference and Greenon and Greeneview from the Ohio Heritage Conference.
Greenon and Greeneview will participate on the girls side and may participate on the boys side, depending on if the OHC has enough boys tennis team for a league next spring.
Milton-Union girls coach Jenny Fox got things rolling this past fall.
“We only have three tennis teams (in the TRC), so that is not enough for a conference,” Ungericht said. “So, Jenny (Fox) was asking different coaches about it at the sectionals. That is where it got started and then the athletic directors got involved.”
Ungericht said one big benefit is scheduling.
They will play a round-robin schedule during the season.
“It will help the athletic directors and coaches with the scheduling,” Ungericht said. “Coach Roll (Lehman Catholic athletic director Richard Roll) already put together the dates for the round-robin schedule. We just have to fill in the teams. Right now, we are playing anybody and everybody.
“We were playing SWBL schools, a lot of the MVL schools and some of the bigger schools in Dayton. I have a big impact on our scheduling, so it is going to help both myself and coach Roll.”
There will be a postseason tournament played at Schroeder’s, around the time other conferences are playing their league tournament — something Lehman hasn’t had the opportunity to do since 2001.
“It will give us a chance to play match play,” Ungericht said. “And get a feel for what the tournament experience is going to be like.”
They have decided yet whether to have an all-conference team or not, but the winner each year will receive a traveling trophy.
“I am sure it will be some combination (of record during the season and tournament) to determine the champion,” Ungericht said. “We haven’t finalized that yet.”
But, as always, Ungericht is excited about anything that will work to the benefit of his players — and can’t for the new conference — unofficial or not, to happen.
Contact Miami Valley Today sports editor Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.