Following several months of discussions and planning, the principals of the schools in the Little Hawkeye Conference – which includes Knoxville, Pella and Pella Christian High Schools – voted Wednesday to admit Dallas Center-Grimes into the league.

Pella High Athletic Director Dale Otte says while the addition certainly benefits the other Little Hawkeye Conference schools, the move also meets the growing needs of the Dallas Center-Grimes district.

“DC-G is a growing school district, so they were especially looking for lower level opportunities that they weren’t quite getting in their other conference. We’re talking about freshman ‘A/B’ games, middle school games and even some sophomore/JV-type games,” said Otte. “Some schools couldn’t quite match that, and we have several school in our conference – if not all – that can match those opportunitys for [Dallas Center-Grimes].”

The departure of South Tama from the league last school year reduced the number of members to seven, and Knoxville High School Athletic Director Randy Wilson says the return to an eight-team league will make for a higher level of competition across all sports.

“To have eight schools is going to make the conference track meet more competitive; [and] the conference cross country meet. We should be able to get back to having a traditional conference-style wrestling tournament,” said Wilson. “With the addition of DC-G and what they will bring to the table, it’s going to make a very tough, very competitive conference.”

Pella Christian High School Activities Director Brad Engbers says they’re happy to add another strong competitor to the conference, despite the fact that it will put another team toward the top of several sports.

“As the smallest team in the conference, some may think, ‘oh, what’s this going to do for Pella Christian, playing schools that are two and three times our size,’ but our kids and coaches want to compete, and we feel like we put teams on the floor or field that are competitive,” said Engbers. “We’re just happy to have another team that has the same passion for quality athletics that we do.”

The addition of Dallas Center-Grimes to the Little Hawkeye Conference will also help make scheduling easier by reducing the number of non-conference games each school has to add to their schedule. The Mustangs will begin conference competition in the fall of 2013.

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