Holy Toledo! Five Ohio schools added to Catholic League

Jack Hauptman ;23, Sports Staff

The Toledo War in 1835 was an almost non-violent dispute over the territory of Toledo between Michigan and Ohio. From which Michigan gained its statehood and the Upper Peninsula in exchange for Toledo. Today, some schools in Michigan and Ohio still battle over sports. This year, the Detroit Catholic League is adding five new schools from Toledo, Ohio, of all places: St. Francis de Sales, St. John Jesuit, Toledo Catholic Central, St. Ursula and Notre Dame Academy. 

Holy Toledo! Five Ohio schools added to Catholic League“It’s hard to move individual teams every year; it’s better to make bigger planned changes than just moving one team every year,” said Athletic Director Meg Seng.

Sports leagues are designed so that teams from different schools can have an easier time finding other schools to play against. They serve as a network of opportunities for schools to take in order to mutually benefit by having their athletes practice and refine their skills against each other in a competitive manner. 

“Those schools that have trouble scheduling competitive games for smaller sports will have more options for schools to schedule against.” said Seng. “The League has never been bigger than 30 some schools. We play in different divisions within the league. In tennis we play in the upper divisions. We’re able to move up and down within the league for better, more fair games.”

Greenhills first joined a league in 2009; however, it later switched to the Catholic League in 2016. As the Catholic league itself has been limited to only Michigan Schools, a new batch of incoming schools may give athletes a change of pace.

“The changes are healthy for the league by making our divisions more competitive and more balanced. You want to create divisions that work and get rid of uneven numbers in divisions while keeping up competition,” said Seng. “We used to have to search for everybody before being in a league. After joining leagues it is easier to find games.”

Right now, the school mainly plays in Michigan and prioritizes closer schools for scrimmages. 

When asked about whether athletes will have to travel to Toledo, Seng said “Yes, they will. To be fair, we already travel to Ottawa Hills and Maumee Valley in Toledo for both middle school and high school contests. We have competed with them for as long as I’ve been here, which is over 30 years.”

Because Toledo is in a different state, it may seem like it will take longer for the buses to get there, adding more travel time onto student athlete’s already busy lives. Some students have expressed their disapproval. 

“Why do we have to drive even more now?” Said student athlete Aidan Woerpel ‘23. “It’s annoying because we never have games that are close to the school and now we have to have even more that are far away.” 

The changes affect viewers as well.

“I love watching sports, but I’m never going to be able to travel to Ohio for just a game to watch,” said Gryphon sports fan Paul Prokorov ‘23.

Additionally, the Gryphon Sports Live team, who cover and broadcast these games are affected. 

“The more teams in the league the better, this leads to better tournaments.” Said Head of Stats and commentator at Gryphon Sports Live club, Abraham Fayad ‘23. “Usually, I have to travel under an hour to get to games, but Toledo is farther than most schools.”

However, these circumstances  might not always be the case. 

“We have competed against other schools in Toledo before. We already compete in Marine City, Michigan, which is 80 minutes away compared to the 50 minutes that Toledo is,“ said Seng. “For us, getting to Toledo is easier compared to other schools. A trip a lot of our teams have taken before. We hope to schedule trips to Toledo on Fridays or Saturdays.” 

While league games will become easier to schedule with more teams in the league, Catholic League championships become more complicated when adding schools from another state to the equation. 

“Our state association, the MHSAA, is different from that of Ohio,”  said Seng.  “Ohio schools cannot compete in Michigan state championships. Only Michigan schools can compete in Michigan championships.  However some sports are different, they (the Toledo schools)  have gotten special permission to play one date in Michigan in the Fall. The Ohio schools play out of season in the Spring, but they will participate in the Detroit Catholic League Tennis tournament. When the  tournament is  being seeded  the Ohio spring scores are worked in.”

Although the new changes to the league are experimental, we can only wait and see what will happen. 

“It’s hard to seed a bunch of schools from other states,” said Seng. “We are just going to try it and see how it works for the league.”