Three schools say no to potential Catholic conference

  • Article by: STAFF REPORTS
  • Updated: May 3, 2013 - 12:32 AM

Cretin-Derham Hall, Totino-Grace and Hill-Murray are not interested.

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At the 2012 state track and field meet, Megan Linder of Cretin-Derham Hall took first place in the Class 2A 400-meter dash. The school will not participate in talks with other catholic high schools about forming a new conference

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune file

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Three of the eight schools invited to preliminary talks about a metro-area Catholic school conference are not in favor of such an alliance.

Activities directors at Cretin-Derham Hall and Totino-Grace said Thursday that their schools are not interested in a potential partnership with Benilde-St. Margaret’s, DeLaSalle, Holy Angels, Holy Family of Victoria and St. Thomas Academy. DeLaSalle President Barry Lieske had queried all eight athletically successful high schools about “joining in a preliminary conversation.” Hill-Murray, which also was invited, had previously expressed opposition.

Totino-Grace activities director Mike Smith and Hill-Murray activities director Bill Lechner, both of whom serve as coaches, said they will listen but have made up their minds.

“You take all the Catholic schools and there are a lot of not-good fits athletically,” Lechner said. “We’re fine where we’re at. We will listen to be polite. But we’re not interested.”

Said Smith: “We’re not interested in segregating ourselves from anybody.” Totino-Grace football moved to the Northwest Suburban Conference last fall. It otherwise competes in the North Suburban Conference, which has announced it will dissolve after the 2013-14 school year.

Cretin-Derham Hall, a member of the Suburban East Conference, will not have representatives at a meeting later this month. Activities director Jodi Loeblein-Lecker said the St. Paul school is “happy where we are at.”

The migration of schools — whether by choice, conferences disbanding or after being voted out by other members of their former conferences — and the difficulty some of those schools are having finding the right competitive fit prompted Lieske’s idea to explore a possible new grouping of schools. The schools are planning to meet May 16.

David La Vaque

Etc.

• Gophers senior Rok Bonin has received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division I men’s tennis championship, held May 22-27 in Urbana, Ill.

• Gophers women’s basketball coach Pam Borton announced that Rachel Banham, Sari Noga and Micaella Riche were named team captains for the 2013-14 season.

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