By Mike Deak
SOUTH BEND – The Hoosier Plains Conference has been in existence in some form for three years. The conference announced its full intentions with the layout of its new alignment for 2020-21.
The HPC has conducted business as a basketball conference since 2018, but not for a compliment of sports. The conference also only had three of the six current schools involved in its original alignment. The new alignment for 2020-21 going forward will include Argos, Bethany Christian, South Bend Career Academy, Elkhart Christian Academy, Lakeland Christian Academy and Trinity Greenlawn in South Bend.
Those six schools will compete against one another in boys and girls soccer, volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls track, baseball and softball.
The HPC will be led by Career Academy athletic director Geriann Druyos, who will serve as conference president. LCA athletic director Tim Yocum will be the vice president and Bethany athletic director Gary Chupp will act as secretary.
The conference will already have a target on its back in boys soccer, as Argos will enter the fall as the Class 1-A defending state champion. Both Bethany Christian and Lakeland Christian finished the 2019 season ranked in the state poll and the totality of the conference has 21 sectional championships to its credit.
Boys basketball has won 14 sectionals, followed by girls soccer at 12, volleyball at five, girls basketball at four and one each for baseball and softball. The HPC has a combined 10 regional championships in four sports among its members, and a combined 22 regional qualifiers and six state qualifiers in track.
The conference is also seeing growth among its schools. LCA absorbed Warsaw Christian, which adds pre-K through sixth grade to what was a junior/senior high school. Bethany is linking with the city of Goshen to build new soccer and softball fields as well as a new track. ECA is in phase two of a three-phase fieldhouse project, which will create a new house for its varsity basketball contests. The Career Academy jumped to Class 2-A after a boost in enrollment, and Trinity has renovated their athletic fieldhouse to include new amenities.
In a statement from the HPC, “The HPC believes establishing this conference brings consistency to scheduling and provides greater opportunities for the student-athlete to be recognized for their accomplishments on the court/field. The HPC believes conference competition will add gravity to games, help foster healthy rivalries and boost attendance. The HPC brings together IHSAA schools with common interests. All are small, non-football schools that desire to expand sport opportunities within their programs.”