Pleasant Ridge, Immaculata will join the Northeast Kansas League starting next year

Pleasant Ridge has been a proud member of the Delaware Valley League for 31 years.

The school has won a league title in every sport and activity offered in the conference.

However next year, PR and some close rivals will be heading off on their own direction and splitting into a new, smaller conference — the Northeast Kansas League.

The NEKL will be comprised of nine schools: Immaculata, Horton, Jackson Heights, Jefferson County North (JCN), Maur Hill-Mount Academy, McLouth, Pleasant Ridge, Oskaloosa and Valley Falls.

All those schools, except for Jackson Heights, Maur Hill and Immaculata, were part of the DVL South division and the former Jefferson County League.

“Well the DVL, our current league, has gotten too big,” said Andy Metsker, principal of Pleasant Ridge and the DVL president. “It had gotten to a point where everyone wasn’t seeing eye-to-eye.”

So what will this mean for the student-athletes of Pleasant Ridge and Immaculata?

First of all, the road trips will be shorter. Second, because the league is getting smaller, there will be a new format for basketball and baseball league games.

There will be a round-robin formula where all of the league schools will play each other twice, including home and away games.

“I am happy with the teams and format we’re going into,” PR head baseball and girls' basketball coach Mike Koontz said. “I think that it will be better for the teams to play twice and have home and away games.”

The sport that might be the most affected is wrestling.

The last few years there has been a huge rivalry between ACCHS and Pleasant Ridge. Now with only five schools offering the sport, including PR and Imac, there most likely won’t be enough to hold a wrestling tournament.

Yet, even with some drawbacks, by the end of this school year the DVL will be no more.
And in its place, the NEKL has risen.

"Honestly, it's the same teams so almost the same league," Immaculata boys' basketball coach Mike Connelly said. "I do think the league got maybe too big, you could say, and so they got together and worked it out. I think it will be beneficial to all of us.”

Brent Lager contributed to this report.