By Jeremy Nobile | Staff Writer
Kent Roosevelt High School's move to a larger athletic conference is not expected to have any effect on the district's long-standing competitive rivalry with Ravenna schools.
"Whatever Ravenna decides, we expect and anticipate competing with them in every sport we possibly can," said Thomas Larkin, assistant superintendent for Kent City Schools.
The Kent Board of Education formally accepted an invitation to the Suburban League athletic conference Tuesday, after they first announced their intentions in a press release on Saturday.
Currently the largest member of the Portage Trail Conference, Larkin noted Roosevelt's transition to the Suburban League is slated to take effect beginning in the 2016-17 school year.
Kent's high school was among several invited to join the conference this year, with the Suburban League looking to grown from its current eight-team status into a 16-team conference split into two divisions based on enrollment figures.
"We have thoroughly enjoyed the PTC and have a tremendous amount of respect for that conference, the schools in it and the athletic competitiveness offered to us," Larkin said. "But the main reason we were interested is because the schools (in the Suburban League) are similar in enrollment and demographics. It gives us an opportunity to compete athletically with schools similar to our size."
Mark Pfaff, athletic director at Kent Roosevelt, said the Rough Riders will compete in the Suburban League's small-school division because it's a "good fit for our athletic programs based on the student-enrollment numbers of the other schools in the small-school division."
He added the new league enables additional opportunities for athletes that didn't exist before.
Kent Roosevelt currently has a variety of sports programs that operate independently outside the PTC, including swimming, diving, girls golf, hockey and field hockey, which has precluded those teams from competing for league titles.
That will change with Roosevelt's inclusion in the Suburban League.
"In addition to the athletic opportunities for our student-athletes, the Suburban League has always stressed the philosophy that they are a triple A league, emphasizing academics, athletics and the arts," Pfaff added. "Many of their programs follow this model, and Roosevelt High School is excited to become a part of that tradition."
The Suburban League, which was originally formed in 1949, is currently an eight-team league, which consists of Summit County schools Copley, Green, Tallmadge, Nordonia and Revere, along with Cloverleaf, Highland and Wadsworth of Medina County.
Roosevelt has been a member of the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division since its formation in 2005.
Larkin said change has no impact on funding.
Facebook: Jeremy Nobile, Record-Courier