GRANITE COUNTY – The Montana High School Association (MHSA) unanimously approved a petition by the schools of Drummond and Granite to redistrict a year early and return to District 13C for the 2020-21 school year.
In a statement posted to the Drummond Public Schools Facebook page that was credited to Superintendent Christina Barbachano and Athletic Director Rick Parke: “…the Executive Board heard our request to go back to 13C next year for Basketball, Volleyball and Track. The board approved the request unanimously and we are grateful that they did so.”
Granite Athletic Director JB Chandler was happy the move took place.
“My initial reaction was to thank Rick for starting the process on all this. Being the outsider, I didn't know how important moving back to the 13C was for our town, so my reaction was of excitement, but then happy that the error the MHSA made a few years ago in moving Drummond and Philipsburg to the 12C was corrected rather quickly. Our entire discussion lasted maybe 15 minutes, as opposed to other discussions lasting hours.”
I think this will be a big improvement for our athletic programs, as travel time and proximity will make it easier on our students, but also easier for our parents and fans to go, so I am hopeful our road attendance will increase next season as well. More importantly, the less travel time will mean that our students will miss less class time (remember that our 2nd closest district foe in 12C is farther than our furthest opponent in 13C) so our grades and athletics should increase, which I see as an overall win-win.”
Last month Drummond Athletic Director Rick Parke petitioned the Montana High School Association to move back to District 13C, citing that the Trojan teams had to drive an additional 600 miles per season while in District 12C. Two-thirds of that travel comes during the winter months at the end of volleyball season, the start of the spring season and the entire basketball schedule, putting athletes on the road under sometimes dangerous driving conditions.
When Drummond made the petition, Athletic Director JB Chandler and Granite High School opted to follow the Trojans, noting that they were their most logical and long-term rival.
When the two districts voted it fell in favor of the move with a 9-3 margin. Twin Bridges dissented from 12C with Seeley Swan and Clark Fork voting against from 13C. Only Seeley provided a reason for their vote, stating that the realignment could be done in two years when it was scheduled to occur rather than a year early.
The move will take the Trojans and Prospectors out of the eastern-based 12C and put them into the more Bitterroot based 13C. The opponents will be Seeley Swan, Clark Fork, Darby, Lincoln, Valley Christian and Victor. The teams that the locals will be leaving in the rearview mirror are Ennis, Twin Bridges, Sheridan, Harrison-Willow Creek and Lima.
The move will not affect the Flint Creek Titans as football is broken into different set of conferences for its play.