Weighing in on South’s First Year in the Mountain Valley Conference
The new Mountain Valley Conference that was organized by the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), last fall that would combine Salem area and Bend area schools into a new sports conference received lots of backlash from both sides with the questions of cost and transportation. Now a year later, now that the league has been officially started and is up and running, some positives are surfacing with the start of the new four year commitment of the league.
“Playing teams that have had State tournament experience which provides more competition is a good thing because it gives us more experience with better competition,” said Victoria Stafford ‘20 who plays on the varsity volleyball team as well as the girls basketball team, “They moved up to 6A for a reason.” It also is beneficial to the teams heading to the games, incorporating additional team bonding time on the rides to Bend, “The drive down to Bend adds an additional level of team bonding,” said Stafford ‘20.
Although so far the new league change sounds fine, what most people were worried about when assembling the league were the teams crossing the Santiam Pass during the winter months as it has been known to be dangerous. Slippery roads and the large amounts of snow might be a risk for teams just going to play. Along with that, the players get home from these long road trips to Bend and back very late with the players having school the next day. Another reason for the massive dislike for the new league change was the amount it would cost to fund all of the travel, some estimates being as high as $700,000. Along with this the students have usually get back from their Bend games around midnight when they have school the next day.
“The athletic part doesn’t bother me, but academically it will kill our students.” said head girls basketball coach Adrian Lewis when the Mountain Valley Conference was officially approved by the OSAA last Spring.
The new league has just started but it will have to wait and see how the new leagues pros and cons balance each other out for the rest of the season and for the next four years until the league will be changed again.