An amazing run for the Northwest Conference just keeps getting better.
While the Northwest technically doesn’t have a football conference anymore, its members keep adding to the league’s overall mystique.
Glen Lake plays in Friday’s Division 6 state championship against Monroe St. Mary’s, Kingsley made a run all the way to the Division 5 state finals and Suttons Bay played in the eight-player state championship last week.
That’s three Final Four appearances for the NWC — in football alone.
The league also had Kingsley in the volleyball Final Four at Battle Creek, and Leland fighting all the way to the state finals berth for the second straight year.
Add in a tremendous amount of cross country success, and the conference is off to a flying start to the 2019-20 academic year.
Benzie Central’s Hunter Jones convincingly won the Division 3 boys X-C championship, Glen Lake’s Makenna Scott took fourth and seven total NWC teams qualified for the state finals, including Leland winning its program’s first regional title. Both Huskies squads placed in the top 10.
The previous three years looked like perhaps the league’s peak — or so you’d think.
With Glen Lake, Buckley and Frankfort reaching the basketball state finals, Leland's boys soccer championship, Buckley's boys soccer semifinal, similar high-level production in volleyball and cross country and Glen Lake and Kingsley posting dominating girls basketball seasons in that span, it appeared the Northwest would be hard-pressed to top that streak. Plenty of other very good teams such as Glen Lake baseball and softball and Frankfort softball just add to that mystique of the NWC being one of the most complete leagues, especially one consisting mainly of smaller schools, in terms of fielding top teams in nearly every sport.
This year’s crop of outstanding teams — three football teams in the final four of their division (including two in the finals), two volleyball squads at Battle Creek (one in the final) and seven cross country teams qualifying for the state finals (and a state champ) — seems to be raising the bar.
The Northwest Conference has already made a name for itself.
With numerous teams this winter and spring looking to add to the league’s haul — Glen Lake boys and girls basketball, Kingsley basketball, Leland boys golf, Frankfort boys golf, Kingsley baseball, Frankfort boys basketball, Kingsley track, among others — the league is looking to make that name one that’s of note throughout the state.