For years Maple Valley and Olivet schools stared across the field, the diamond or the court at one another during league competition. That was all about to come to an end in the 2014-15 school year until the formation of the Greater Lansing Athletic Conference was announced.
The two schools will join five other schools — Lakewood, Lansing Christian, Leslie, Perry and Stockbrigde in the fall of 2014, the inaugural season for the new league. While each school had its own reasons for joining the GLAC, Maple Valley athletic director Duska Brumm and Olivet athletic director Matt Seidl are excited to be able to continue the rivalry.
“To me, the Maple Valley rivalry is exciting,” Seidl said. “Those events always seem to bring a different level of intensity. It’s a natural fit and I believe we would have tried to continue to play them in the non-conference if we hadn’t made the move.”
Olivet made the decision to join the GLAC in January following a long exploratory period that almost had the district remaining in the Kalamazoo Valley Association. Some instability in the KVA, however, prompted Olivet to revisit its options.
Seidl said Olivet explored joining the Capital Area Activities Conference as well as the Interstate 8 before realizing the newly forming GLAC provided the best fit.
Brumm said Maple Valley began exploring its options after the KVA added Constantine and Schoolcraft, which she said were too far for the district to travel to on a regular basis. She said Leslie and Stockbridge, two schools Maple Valley was familiar with from its time in the Southern Michigan Athletic Association were exploring the idea of forming a new league, which fit perfectly for Maple Valley.
“The distance just got to be too far in the KVA,” Brumm said. “We looked at creating divisions within the KVA, such as North and South, but that did not go anywhere.”
Both Brumm and Seidl said the smaller GLAC will allow more flexibility in scheduling non-conference games. Both said they are interested in scheduling locally to fill many of their non-conference open dates.
“Change is always exciting and I feel this is going to benefit us greatly,” Seidl said.