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Sportsline: Duluth schools, Grand Rapids seek new homes

Duluth Central and East and Grand Rapids are the latest area teams seeking new conference affiliations.

All three were once members of the North Country Conference, a hastily constructed league a number of years back to provide a conference for several independents.

But Hibbing left that conference for the Sea Range two years back and Thief River Falls and Detroit Lakes have moved to the Heart O' Lakes the past two years.

The consolidation of Denfeld and Central this year leaves only that school, East and the Rapids remaining, too few for an official league.

The Central-Denfeld co-op operates out of Central High this year as Central but will shift back to Denfeld next fall when the reconstruction of that building is complete. It will then become Denfeld High.

All three schools have applied and been rejected by the larger Central Lakes and smaller Sea Range along with the Mississippi 8 which will be restructured next fall.

They expect to petition the MSHSL for conference affiliation next year much as Bemidji and Moorhead have done the past half decade.

Central is playing only seven games this year and faces four open dates in 2011.

Bemidji is now in Section 7-4A play for football with the Rapids and Duluth Schools but Moorhead seems to have no likelihood to join that group, all but East 4A grid schools while Moorhead remains 5A.

Bemidji and the Spuds have been adjoined to the CLC for regular season games but not conference competition.

They could become full-time members when the four St. Cloud area teams leave the CLC to join with Mississippi 8 members in the near future.

LSC says no

The Lake Superior Conference this week denied East and Grand Rapids admittance in all sports but football though East would be a smaller school than Superior and the Rapids smaller than those two and Central-Denfeld.

Other members are Cloquet, Hermantown, Ashland, Wis., Proctor and Duluth Marshall.

League bylaws require five affirmative votes to approve the additions. They were not forthcoming.

East will grow next year and Central will shrink when the newly remodeled Denfeld building is reopened and Central closes.

DAC teams sought

In a similar situation, the remaining four Dakota Athletic Conference schools have been solicited by the Frontier Conference for proposed membership.

The four are Dickinson, Valley City, Jamestown and Mayville, left homeless when the three South Dakota members plus Minot withdrew, three to move into NCAA-II ranks.

The seven-school Frontier is an NAIA league similar to the DAC and could be well suited for a match in that respect.

The four have until Oct. 29 to make formal applications for admission.

Of the four, only Dickinson seems inclined to make the jump with travel distances the major obstacle to the other three.

Other new schools being sought are Southern Oregon, Azusa (Cal.) Pacific and Menlo (Cal.) College.

As of yet, no official invitations have been extended by the Frontier while the situation is "being explored".

Mayville has only six varsity sports and the Frontier does not sponsor either softball or baseball, two of the six.

Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont. would be the closest school to Mayville under the new arrangement. Menlo is in the Los Angeles area and would be the longest.

Jamestown is seeking to join the Great Plains Athletic Conference.

The three Eastern schools may end up as NAIA independents. Dickinson does not wish to compete independently.

Summit visits UND

The Summit League will survey the UND campus Nov. 1-2 to gain information on the Sioux' application for membership in the league.

The 10-member league also includes NDSU and SDSU and will be joined by South Dakota next year.

The visit was advanced when the Big Sky Conference also expressed an interest in adding UND for football and possibly all sports.

That circuit recently added UC-Davis and Cal Poly in football and would like one more to reach 12 schools.

The Summit offers 19 sports but not football. It stretches from Indiana to Utah and North Dakota to Louisiana.

Esko legend dies

Bob Peterson, who guided the Esko football team from 1965-89, died suddenly this week at the age of 77 at St. Mary's Medical Center at Duluth.

It came only two weeks after he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

He led the Eskomoes to a 174-58 career record with 11 conference titles and took the state Class C title in 1975 with a 62-0 win over Karlstad.

He guided the JV basketball team to 58 straight wins and the varsity baseball team to six straight conference titles. In addition, he originated the golf program at the school.

Former BSU star Rollie Bromberg (1955) who coached nearby Cloquet football for 25 seasons, will deliver the eulogy at Peterson's funeral.

He was considered an offensive wizard with a mammoth playbook

Hockey camp

The BSU women's hockey team will sponsor a pre-season camp for area girls in Grades 8-12 on Oct. 25-27 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the BREC.

Cost is $50 made payable to BSU women's hockey which includes tickets to the BSU-St. Cloud WCHA series Oct. 29- 30.

It is open to the first 30 skaters with the first four goalies signing up by Oct. 11 charged half price.

The staff will be headed by BSU head coach Steve Sertich plus his assistants and members of the Beaver hockey team.

For further information contact the Bemidji State women's hockey office at 755-4251.