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Ironton moves to OVC

Oct. 22, 2013 @ 06:55 AM

IRONTON— It’s official. Ironton High School is now a member of the Ohio Valley Conference .

Dean Nance, superintendent of the Ironton Board of Edu­cation, said the board voted 5-0 Monday night to approve Ironton giving up indepen­dent status for the OVC beginning in 2013-14. Board members are Mark Fields, president; Dr. Burton Payne, vice president; and Jay Zornes, Tim Johnson and Robert Ple a sa nt .

Last Monday, OVC officials extended an invitation to Ironton to join, pending board approval. The board voted at Monday’s regular meeting. Nance followed with a “State of the School” address.

Nance, Ironton High prin­cipal Joe Rowe and athletic director Mark LaFon attended the OVC meeting last week.

“They’re happy to invite us in,” Nance said.

River Valley leaves after this season. The OVC voted to take in Portsmouth last Wednes­day. Remaining schools are Rock Hill, Coal Grove, South Point, Chesapeake and Fair­land. Ironton will be the second smallest school in the league. Only Coal Grove is smaller.

Nance said schools today are trying to find ways to cut costs wherever possible. One is travel. The past two weeks, Ironton’s football team traveled to Colum­bus to play St. Charles and Bishop Hartley.

Ironton will compete in the OVC next season in all sports except football. In football, that move could be two years away as schools already have signed contracts. The Fighting Tigers currently play Wheelersburg, Ashland and Russell in football and want them to stay on the schedule. The school has signed contracts starting next year with Meigs and Jackson and has re-signed Oak Hill for two more years. Ironton and Portsmouth meet each season .

"We're similar in size and values," Nance said of the seven-member OVC. "The kids know each other and now will get to compete against each other. It will make for good attendance and rivalries." For Portsmouth, the greatest distance it will travel for a football game is to Proctorville (51 miles) to take on Fairland. In the new-look OVC, the only team without artificial turf will be Fairland. Ironton will have an artificial surface installed at Tanks Memorial Stadium after this season.
 

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