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Pequot Lakes School Board votes to change conference affiliation in 2023

The Patriots will move into the Granite Ridge District with teams like Little Falls

Pequot Lakes School.jpg
Pequot Lakes School. PineandLakes Echo Journal file photo
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PEQUOT LAKES — During its Monday, March 14, regular meeting, the Pequot Lakes School Board voted to change its conference affiliation for most sports from the Mid-State District to the Granite Ridge District, beginning with the 2023-24 school year.

The district recently received an invitation to join the Granite Ridge Conference, which would put them in a conference with Little Falls, Pierz, Albany, St. Cloud Cathedral, Milaca, Foley and Mora.

Activities director Byron Westrich said this district offers more fine arts opportunities, as well as one-act play, speech, music and Knowledge Bowl competitions. Additionally, most schools in the conference have similar enrollment numbers.

Westrich expressed concern about the long-term viability of remaining in the Mid-State Conference.

“There are only six teams, and they are very different in enrollment,” Westrich said. “ … This would give us a more competitive conference and they are very similar in enrollment – we would be the third-largest (behind Little Falls and Foley) – and there are more levels of play, which provides more opportunities for our children.”

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One drawback is that travel for conference games will increase, but travel for nonconference games should decrease significantly, as the Patriots can play teams like Crosby-Ironton as opposed to traveling to cities like Thief River Falls.

This change in conference affiliation will apply to all activities except football, trap shooting and possibly wrestling.

“This is supported by all district administration and it is a great move for our students,” Superintendent Kurt Stumpf said.

In other action Monday, the board:

  • Approved a trip for the robotics team to Houston in April so the team may participate in 2022 FIRST Championship. The total cost for the trip – including transportation, lodging and food – is $20,900.
  • Adopted a resolution to enter into long-range planning and construction management agreements with ICS Consulting, along with a long-range planning and architect/engineering agreement with Armstrong, Torseth, Skold & Rydeen.
  • Accepted eight donations to the district totaling $8,319, along with nine donations to the student activity fund account totaling $7,200.

As part of its consent agenda, the board accepted the resignations of assistant head cook Stacy Fead, middle school paraprofessional Taeler Jenniges and Early Childhood Family Education paraprofessional Melissa Dahlheimer.
The board approved the hirings of middle school paraprofessional Michelle Gullixson, high school secretary Roberta Berry, high school attendance secretary Nicole Triebenbach, high school physical education teacher Clayton Foster, cook helper Julie Gabriel, special education teacher Cory Kralovetz, assistant head cook Erin Rindahl and night lead custodian Mark Lang.

It also approved the hiring of Jamie Mellin in a position yet to be determined.

Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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