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County schools to separate from Sagamore Conference

Crawfordsville, North Montgomery and Southmont along with Western Boone and Frankfort have decided to separate from the Sagamore Conference. The five schools released a joint press release Wednesday notifying everyone of their decision.

The five high schools submitted a letter of separation from the Sagamore Athletic Conference in accordance with conference by-laws.

The letter read, “Thank you to the entire Sagamore Athletic Conference for the transparency, communication and professionalism that has taken place over the years and throughout this process. Each member school has a long history within the conference, and it has been a privilege to be Sagamore Athletic Conference members.

“Crawfordsville High School, Frankfort High School, North Montgomery High School, Southmont High School and Western Boone Jr.-Sr. High School and a school to be named later will be founding members of a new athletic conference. We anticipate this conference going into effect no later than the 2026-27 school year, with the possibility of earlier implementation. This timeline prioritizes the ability for schools to honor former commitments, form conference bylaws and confirm scheduling, etc.

This new athletic conference will comprise of at least six member schools with the possibility to expand in the future.

Crawfordsville, Lebanon and Frankfort were three members of the original Sagamore Conference which formed in 1967. North Montgomery joined the conference in 1975-76 replacing Carmel, while Southmont joined in 1985-86 to replace Brownsburg.

“We have been transparent with the membership about our desire to look at a potential change in conferences for Crawfordsville,” said athletic director Bryce Barton. “I have the utmost respect for the administrations at each of these schools and look forward to working with them in the future.”

Barton noted that the significant growth in school enrollment at some of the other schools in the conference was a reason to realign.

“Some of our programs historically were very successful in the Sagamore Conference whereas other programs really struggled to be competitive,” Barton said. “We saw a downward trend in our participation numbers in those programs at all levels: high school, middle school and youth. A change in the conference landscape, we hope is a shot in the arm to those programs.

“Moving forward, we are excited to maintain long-time county rivals in North Montgomery and Southmont in the new conference. Western Boone makes a lot of sense for the Montgomery County schools as we share a lot of academic programs and our administrative teams consult regularly on a host of topics and issues. Frankfort is a long-standing member of the Sagamore Conference and has had some outstanding athletic programs over the years. We look forward to continuing that relationship as they join us in this new conference.”

North Montgomery athletic director Matt Merica said being a part of the Sagamore Conference has been great for the Chargers for decades.

“With current and future enrollments of current SAC schools along with competitive balance, it was time for a change,” he said. “We are excited for the possibilities of new partnerships athletically and academically. It’s important to know that during this separation process, we were transparent with all current SAC schools every step of the way. The administrators within the SAC have a great working relationship and I expect this to continue.”

Southmont athletic director Aaron Charles echoed Merica’s statements.

“Southmont has enjoyed its time since joining the Sagamore Conference in 1985,” Charles said. “The athletic directors, principals and coaches have had great relationships over the years and I anticipate that not changing due to the high professionalism by all. We have appreciated the great rapport by all the administrators during the last several months with this process.”

Over the last several years there have been a variety of changing factors that has led Southmont to look into what is in the best interest of its athletes from the youth, junior high and high school levels.

“We are extremely excited about the formation of a new conference,” Charles said. “We are looking forward to this new partnership athletically but also academically. We believe that the Southmont community will be excited for this new partnership as we continue to do what is best for kids.”

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