Warsaw to compete against schools of more comparable size in new conference


Starting next school year, Wildcats will cut down on travel time to competitions and compete against teams from schools closer to Warsaw’s size as they join the newly created Ozark Mountain Conference.

  The current conference, the Tri-county Conference, includes Osage, Blair Oaks, Hallsville, Southern Boone, California, Eldon and Versailles. The conference Warsaw will be joining, the Ozark Mountain conference, will include Cole Camp, Butler, El Dorado, Sherwood, Skyline, and Stockton. The outlook is positive for future teams and their success.

  Warsaw and other area schools started planning a new conference last year called the Ozark Highlands conference. The new conference changed slightly to include Skyline and Stockton and was renamed to the Ozark Mountain conference.

  The new conference cuts down on time so students can get more sleep, be more aware in class, and keep better grades.

  “It’ll cut down on travel time so we won’t get home as late and won’t have to leave so early,” girls basketball coach Cody Morgan said.

  Some schools in Warsaw’s current conference have grown in size and, in turn, grown in success.

  “I think the teams in our current conference have grown substantially,” athletic director Ryan Boyer said. “They’re mostly large 3A or even small 4A schools and they’ve outgrown us, so that’s why it’s a good move for us.”

  Joining the Ozark Mountain conference also gives sports teams a new challenge with the level of competition they will face.

  “I think any change is going to take some getting used to. The competition level is still going to be tough. We’ll have to get used to it,” volleyball coach Shelly Hodges said.

  The new conference includes schools and communities that have similar qualities to Warsaw

  “We’ll compete against schools our own size and our own makeup. Their communities and ours have a lot of the same characteristics like enrollment and athletic programs,” boys basketball coach Scott Floyd said.

  Former athletic director Billy Daleske has been highly involved with the Tri-County conference in past years. The travel time has always been a concern.

  “The current Tri-County conference has voted to include schools increasing the travel time for Warsaw,” Daleske said. “The Tri-County has become more of a conference for schools who lie outside the greater Jefferson City and Columbia area and less of a conference for rural schools.”

  Travel time and the growth of other schools has had a large effect on the school. The Ozark Mountain conference will give Warsaw new competition and a more even chance to succeed.

  “Seeing someone different will be good for us,” Hodges said.