A New Venture For Emmetsburg Athletics
With the opening of the Fall Sports seasons across the state and in Emmetsburg, the new season is also a new beginning for Emmetsburg athletic programs. After a storied history as one of the founding schools in the Lakes Conference, Emmetsburg is the newest member of the Twin Lakes Conference for 2017-2018.
Emmetsburg was one of the original founding schools of the Lakes Conference back in the mid-1940’s along with Spencer. The Lakes Conference was originally comprised of Spencer, Storm Lake, Cherokee, Spirit Lake, Estherville, Sibley, Sheldon and Emmetsburg for over 40 years. In the 1980’s Sibley merged with Ocheyedan and left the league in 1990 to join the Siouxland Conference. After the departure of Sibley-Ocheyedan, LeMars petitioned to join the conference, and became a member in 1993.
The Lakes Conference expanded in 1997 when Western Christian of Hull petitioned for membership in the league. But in 2009, Sheldon left the Lakes Conference, joining the Siouxland Conference.
The majority of schools in the Lakes Conference are Class 3A schools, while Emmetsburg was a Class 2A school. That disparity in student enrollment, coupled with increasing difficulty in being able to be competitive with the larger league schools prompted Emmetsburg to begin exploring options for a different conference affiliation.
District officials checked with the North Iowa Conference, a league of comparably-sized schools east of Emmetsburg, but with 11 schools already in the league, travel distances would come into play in the considerations.
The Twin Lakes Conference was also investigated, with a much more favorable outcome.
Welcome To The Twin Lakes
The Twin Lakes Conference, which was established in the 1960’s, was originally comprised of several near-by school districts, including Laurens, Pocahontas, Rolfe, Gilmore City-Bradgate, Twin Rivers of Bode, Rockwell City, Manson and Albert City-Truesdale.
Over the years, several of the founding schools merged and left the conference. Twin Rivers of Bode, Gilmore City-Bradgate and Albert City-Truesdale all left the conference in the mid-1980’s, while Prairie of Gowrie joined, along with Lake City.
Mergers of several schools also took place, such as Rockwell City and Lytton merging in the early 1990’s. Alta-Aurelia joined the Twin Lakes along with Wall Lake View-Auburn in 1991, but in 1995, Alta-Aurelia and Sac City left the Twin Lakes to start the Northwest Conference.
Southeast Webster-Grand joined the Twin Lakes in 2004 and in 2007, Laurens-Marathon left to join the Northwest Conference. Wall Lake View Auburn and Sac City merged in 2007 and became East Sac County and in 2017, Rockwell City-Lytton and Southern Calhoun began sharing.
2010 saw the Twin Lakes grow as Sioux Central entered the league, coming from the Northwest Conference. Just a year later, in 2011, the Northwest conference merged with the Twin Lakes to make a 10-team league.
With the disbanding of the Cornbelt Conference in 2015, Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire and West Bend-Mallard/Gilmore City-Bradgate joined the conference. The league would shrink to 11 schools in 2015, as the merger of Southeast Webster-Grand and Prairie Valley created the Southeast Valley district, located in Gowrie.
Emmetsburg’s high school enrollment figure of 229 in 2012-2013 puts them in the upper echelon of the Twin Lakes schools. East Sac County, boasts the largest enrollment in the league, with St. Mary’s Catholic of Storm Lake the smallest with just 64 students in the 2012-2013 enrollment figures.
The member schools of the Twin Lakes are East Sac County’s Raiders; Manson Northwest Webster’s Cougars; Pocahontas Area/Laurens-Marathon’s Indians; Southeast Valley’s Jaguars; South Central Calhoun’s Titans; Alta-Aurelia’s Warriors; Newell-Fonda’s Mustangs; Sioux Central’s Rebels; St. Mary’s Catholic Panthers; Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire’s Titans and West Bend-Mallard/Gilmore City-Bradgate’s Wolverines, along with Emmetsburg’s E-Hawks.
The new conference affiliation is in effect for all sports, with the exception of varsity football, which is played in the District Format set by the IHSAA.