The contest will be the first for an LCA athletic team as a member of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.
The private, faith-based school of about 130 students in grades 7-12 in Winona Lake is ready for the move.
“I think our coaches are excited about joining the IHSAA,” said LCA athletic director Tim Yocum. “It will be a good thing for our athletes here. They will be able to gain more exposure and recognition. I think it will also increase college opportunities for those who want to go on and play at the next level.”
LCA has been on an IHSAA probationary period the last two years in preparation for full membership. All of its teams and individuals will now be able to compete in IHSAA sanctioned state tournaments starting this fall. The school’s athletic teams will compete in Class 1-A in the state tournament series for sports such as volleyball, boys basketball and girls basketball.
Yocum, in his 13th year at LCA, says the role of athletics at the school will not change.
“Our philosophy as a faith-based school is that we put Jesus Christ first in all things,” Yocum said. “That’s foremost here at LCA. And education is our top priority after that. Athletics builds character and life skills. We see athletics as important here as part of the learning process.”
The LCA athletic program, despite limited numbers, has had its share of success. The girls track team this past spring, led by standout Jo Boren (who is now at Grace College), had a strong season.
“We have a legitimate athletic program and like any other school we go through cycles,” said Yocum. “The thing is that the last several years we’ve been playing more public schools so we’re not stepping into unchartered waters with this move.”
Will the move to become a member of the IHSAA mean more students and potential athletes at LCA?
“We’re hopeful that we could get more athletes here, but that’s not the reason at all of why we did this,” said Yocum. “We’ll see.”
LCA currently offers volleyball, boys soccer and co-ed cross country in the fall. Boys and girls basketball are offered in the winter and softball, boys golf and co-ed track are spring sports.