"We're just really excited about the move to the Twin Lakes," said GT/RA superintendent Jesse Ulrich. "We think it's a wonderful conference to be in that's going to have a great feel to it. We're just excited about being in a solid conference and getting the chance to compete at a high level."
The Titans figured the 13-team league would be an excellent fit from the moment they started their conference search.
"We did not apply to any other conference and the reason for that was travel," Ulrich said. "We've could easily travel to those (Twin Lakes Conference) schools and any other conference was not going to be a good fit we felt."
The Twin Lakes expanded to 13 schools with the additions of Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire and West Bend-Mallard, both formerly of the Cornbelt Conference. The Cornbelt Conference, which will be defunct at the end of the 2013 athletic season, still has two teams -- Clay Central-Everly and Corwith-Wesley-LuVerne -- left searching for a new home, with Harris-Lake Park (War Eagle Conference) and North Union (North Iowa Conference) previously announcing their departures.
"If you look at the Cornbelt Conference, it's a real-life analogy of rural districts in the state of Iowa, especially in the past five years; the merge of school districts has been devastating to the conference," said Ulrich. "With North Union merging together they thought they'd be significantly larger than the rest of the teams and so they went out and were accepted in a conference to the east. So being down to five teams made it hard to be a viable conference because you can only play five games."
GT/RA was already familiar with the Twin Lakes since they've been competing in wrestling in that league for several years now.
"That's such a good fit for us," said Ulrich. "That's the wrestling schedule that we currently use right now."
The biggest schedule changes for the Titans will come in volleyball, girls basketball and boys basketball.
"Bluntly speaking what we're talking about is volleyball and basketball because a lot of the other sports aren't conference affiliated since with football you have districts and with track and golf you have just one conference meet," Ulrich stated.
The Twin Lakes Conference merged with the Northwest Conference back in the fall of 2011, with two divisions forming the revamped Twin Lakes Conference.
The Northwest Division includes teams from the old Northwest Conference: Alta-Aurelia, Laurens-Marathon, Newell-Fonda, Sioux Central and Storm Lake St. Mary's The Southeast Division is made up of East Sac County, South Central Calhoun, Manson Northwest Webster, Southeast Webster-Grand, Pocahontas Area/Pomeroy-Palmer and Prairie Valley.
There could be some movement as far as divisions with the addition of Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire and West Bend-Mallard, but both schools make the most sense in the Northwest Division.