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Conference looking to replace departing schools

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Jeff Hester will be a busy man the next few months.

The Columbus North athletics director and Conference Indiana president is charged with finding two new members for the conference after two schools decided to leave this week. Lawrence Central and Pike are bolting for the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference beginning in 2014-15.

“We’re trying to find two schools that would be a good match to replace Pike and LC,” Hester said. “We want to move to replace them as soon as possible.”

Hester said he asked Columbus East, but the Olympians declined. East athletics director Bob Gaddis said in September that he considered all 10 boys and 10 girls sports and decided to remain in the Hoosier Hills Conference, of which it is a charter member.

Roncalli, which sits between Conference Indiana members Perry Meridian, Southport and Franklin Central, has expressed interest in joining and would be a good geographic fit. So would Mid-State Conference schools Greenwood, Franklin and Whiteland.

“There’s a couple schools in the Mid-State I’m meeting with next Friday to see if they have interest,” Hester said. “At least as of now, they have agreed to meet with us.”

Hester, who originally was elected Conference Indiana president for a one-year term, has served in that role for three years now.

“I’ll finish out the year,” Hester said. “I’m ready to take a back seat. If need be, I’ll do it one more year, but I’ll be more than happy for someone else to do it for a little bit.”

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