WOAC Holds Media Day to Kickoff New Conference

The Western Ohio Athletic Conference held its first Media Day at Beechwood Golf Course to kick off the start of the new conference. The WOAC vision started nearly two years ago as the direct result of many hard-working superintendents, school administrators, athletic directors and coaches with the goal of providing all member schools an opportunity to be competitive and successful and that vision will come to life this fall.

12 teams make up the new conference: (6) from Darke County – Ansonia, Arcanum Butler, Bradford, Franklin Monroe, Mississinawa Valley and Tri-Village, (4) from Preble County – National Trail, Preble Shawnee, Tri-County North, and Twin Valley South, (1) from Miami County – Pleasant Hill Newton and (1) from Montgomery County – New Lebanon Dixie.

Conference Commissioner John Butch gave opening remarks about the new conference. He then introduced Neil “Hutch” Konerman WDTN TV News Sports Anchor who took over duties as emcee for the event.

Konerman shared some amusing stories before introducing the new Sports Information Director Dale Barger.

Barger highlighted the new conference website www.woacsports.com, that will have all the schools’ sports schedules, stats, rosters and standings along with feature stories.

The conference can also be followed on twitter @woacsports and facebook @Western Ohio Athletic Conference.

Athletic Directors then took to the podium introducing their guest and student athletes and shared the number of sports their school would be participating in the WOAC.

WOAC members selected student athletes to represent their schools at the banquet.

Those in attendance were as follows: Ansonia; Jackson Shellhaas and Mackenzie Singer, Arcanum; Taylor Gray and Ian Baker, Dixie; Sierra Brinson and Dustin Simon, Franklin Monroe; Skylar Bauman and Gabe Sargent, Mississinawa Valley; Mackenzea Townsend and Aron Hunt, National Trail; Jenna Petitt and Wyatt House, Newton; McKenna Downing, Preble Shawnee; Gracie Lovey and Ethan Woodard, Tri-County North; Brett Woodward and Morgan Erbaugh, Tri-Village; Rylee Sagester and Layne Sarver and Twin Valley South; Grant Ulrich and Abby McGuire

Ohio High School Athletic Association Communications Director Tim Streid then took the Podium and shared an important message directed to the student athletes in attendance.

“So many of these schools you see here today, they’re your rivals when you step on the field or on the court, you want to win, obviously we all want to win and you know some of these student athletes when you were little you see them at the grocery store, you see them at church, you know them now on a rival team and you want to win, you want to represent your school and that’s great … but after the game we are all a part of one family, we’re all part of one conference. The thing that I didn’t realize until I was out of school is that when you meet someone who is from your league, from your county, from your area, there’s a bond there. You probably don’t realize all that now, but you will later, they may become your college teammate or work at the same business and now you have that connection! So, I just encourage you, as you go through this school year and beyond, get to know some of the student athletes in the conference. They’re rivals now, they’re going to be friends later and hopefully some of them are friends now. Embrace it, not only will it feed into the success of your conference but also your future.” Streid stated.

Neil “Hutch” Konerman followed that up with a special message to all the coaches and administrators.

“Later in life the people who we know and remember are those whose entire span of our livelihoods are our teachers and coaches because they are so influential in our lives.

“I just want to applaud all of you for everything you’re doing for these young people. You don’t do it for pay – I’m not sure you can put a value on what you do but you are all doing a really good job of that,” Konerman praised.
¬Lunch was then served, and time was given to the media to interact with student athletes, athletic directors and administrators.

As everyone milled around one common thing could be heard from media members, administrators, coaches and student athletes and that is the excitement of beginning play in the new conference.

Tim Streid summarized the start and future success of the new Western Ohio Athletic Conference best by using an African proverb OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute likes to use in staff meetings.

“If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.

“I encourage all you here today, to embrace that, if you work together you’re going to go far as a conference, you have all the pieces in place,’ Streid concluded

Dale Barger Photo
Dale Barger Photo
Dale Barger Photo
Gaylen Blosser Photo
Gaylen Blosser Photo

Dale Barger / Sports Editor

Dale Barger is a lifelong sports enthusiast and has covered high school athletics for nearly 20 years in Southwest Ohio and now becomes sports editor for Darke County now. For 18 years Dale has been a sportswriter for The Daily Advocate and has been published in online sorts magazines and conference websites. Dale is also an accomplished photographer who has captured thousands of athletes in action over the years. Dale is a member of The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association and was a 2019 recipient of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Southwest District Media Service Award. Dale lives on a 72-acre farm outside of New Madison, Ohio and is married to Rita Ann (Fourman) Barger and together they have two sons and three grandkids. If you don’t see Dale at a sporting event you might catch him following his other passion – photographing nature and wildlife. Contact Darke County Now Editor Media Sports Editor Dale Barger at dbarger@darkecountynow.com.

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