Braves, Ems not keen on West PAC

ESCANABA — Several Mid-Peninsula Conference schools have applied to join the West PAC, but Gladstone and Manistique aren’t among them.

Six schools from the M-PC — Gwinn, Iron Mountain, Ishpeming, Westwood, Negaunee and Norway — have applied to join the West PAC. If these teams are accepted into the West PAC, it could mean the end of the M-PC.

“We would be saddened if the Mid-Pen dissolves,” said Manistique athletic director Rob Ryan. “It’s been a great conference for 40 years. We know that things change, but heading 200 miles or more to play schools is just not reasonable for us given our geographical location.”

The West PAC will be meeting Oct. 16 to determine if any of these schools will be accepted to the conference, with a decision coming as soon as Oct. 18.

Gladstone AD Andy Jacques also cited location as a reason for not applying to the West PAC.

“It’s definitely a travel issue,” said Jacques. “We would be traveling to quite a few places, especially for basketball. For football, it would be great because it would be great competition for us, but for other sports it’s a lot of traveling.”

This is Gladstone’s first year in the M-PC after moving from the Great Northern Conference last year. Jacques believes it’s a real possibility that the Braves could look to move back to the GNC if all of these teams are granted admission to the West PAC.

As for Manistique, it would have to look elsewhere to where it makes sense geographically.

“I think we would be forced to look at schools who are similar in size and closer to us,” said Ryan. “We’ll probably look at schools on the east side like Newberry, St. Ignace and Rudyard. They are about our size and we play them at the district level in many sports anyway. Another option would to become independent, but that wouldn’t be a very attractive option.”