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St. Bede approved by NCIC to join Lincoln Division

The NCIC Lincoln has found a replacement school for the 2010-11 school year when longtime member Kewanee exits for the Three Rivers Athletic Conference.

St. Bede Academy was approved to join the NCIC Lincoln in Wednesday’s conference meeting in Mendota, to compete in every sport but football. If approved by its board, the Bruins would continue to play football in the Big Rivers Conference, while leaving the Tri-County Conference in all other sports.

“We’ve been notified we’ve been accepted by the NCIC. We’re excited by that, but it’s all pending board approval,” St. Bede athletic director Bernie Moore said. “We see it as all positive.”

Moore anticipates the SBA Board to vote on the NCIC invitation in early June and said the Academy would be notifying the Tri-County Conference of its intentions.

St. Bede will be the first-ever private school to join the NCIC and join as the  smallest school in the NCIC, though the IHSA multiplier would put its enrollment higher than the Lincoln’s Spring Valley Hall.

St. Bede presently offers girls' and boys' tennis, golf, track and basketball as well as cross country, volleyball, football, wrestling, baseball and softball.

Though St. Bede’s entry will still leave the Lincoln with five teams in football, one short of being eligible for a conference playoff representative, PHS football coach/AD Dave Moore said it’s a good thing for the conference.

“They’re coming in for the right reasons,” Moore said Thursday morning. “They offer wrestling and tennis and everything else.”

Moore said the Lincoln could still add an additional school at any point to fill out it’s football schedule and give the conference seven members overall. He doesn’t know if St. Bede would consider coming over for football in the future.

The NCIC could face a complete overhaul in the near future with the schools from Reagan Division in discussion with some teams from the Western Sun to form a new conference. LaSalle-Peru athletic director Greg Sarver told Shaw News Services they had a positive meeting and should know “what direction we want to go” by the end of May.

As it stands, Morris will leave the Suburban Prairie to join the conference this fall on the Reagan side, giving that division seven members.

Should the Reagan break up, there would be several sports around the NCIC short-handed, as not all schools field teams in sports such as tennis, soccer and wrestling.

Moore said St. Bede would have to make some scheduling adjustments, in particular basketball with losing the Tri-County tournament.

“That would be a big thing. We’d have to replace it with some games or another tournament,” he said.

St. Bede’s departure would leave the Tri-County with nine members: DePue, Henry-Senachwine, Lowpoint-Washburn, Ottawa Marquette, Midland, Peoria Christian, Putnam County, Roanoke-Benson and Streator Woodland.

Moore has his own scheduling concerns for football. He has leads but is still “fighting tooth and nail” to get games for football when Kewanee leaves in 2010. He has added Peoria Notre Dame in place of Streator for Week 3 and Orion in place of Dixon for Week 9 in 2009 but will lose Orion for  2010.

“We don’t find schools around here our size. Too bad we can’t get crossover games with the Big Rivers,” Moore said.

Hall athletic director Gary Vicini directed all comments to Mendota principal Denise Aughenbaugh, the NCIC president.

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