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Monticello welcomes Becker to the Mississippi 8 Conference

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The Mississippi 8 Conference has subtracted three teams and added another for the 2019-20 sports and activities year.

Joining Monticello, Saint Francis, Princeton, North Branch, Chisago Lakes, Big Lake and Cambridge-Isanti in the Mississippi 8 is Becker. Buffalo, Rogers and St. Michael-Albertville are leaving the M8.

Zimmerman applied to join the Mississippi 8 Conference, but was denied, making the name match the number of teams in the conference.

Becker will be returning after parting ways with the Mississippi 8 seven years ago. Becker joined the Granite Ridge Conference in 2012, but applied to rejoin the M8 last summer. Becker’s application was unanimously approved by the seven other teams in the conference, according to the Minnesota State High School League website.

Monticello Activities Director Gary Revenig said he was thrilled to have Becker joining the conference.

“Competition-wise, it’ll be a good fit,” Revenig said. “They’re a little bit smaller, they’re about 20 minutes away from Monticello, and we’ve played in the same section as them. We welcome Becker to the Mississippi 8.”

The conference was originally named for the eight schools located within a 10-mile radius of the Mississippi River.

The changes were made to try and reduce scheduling problems between the high schools and to accommodate the enrollment changes from school to school.

Buffalo and St. Michael-Albertville are leaving the Mississippi 8 to join the Lake Conference along with Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Wayzata. They are the first teams to be joining the Lake since 2010.

Starting in the fall the two teams– Buffalo with 1,725 students and St. Michael-Albertville with 1,804 students– will hold the spots for the smallest high schools in the conference. Hopkins is the third smallest with 1,838 students.

Rogers will also be leaving the conference and joining the Northwest Suburban Conference.

“Those three large schools, Buffalo, Rogers and STMA, their enrollment just kept going up and we couldn’t compete,” Revenig said. “Now that the teams in our conference are all close in enrollment size it should be a good fit and it should be pretty competitive.”

Having eight teams back in the Mississippi 8 will help with creating a flexible schedule and a chance to rekindle past rivalries.

Reach Jessie Meyen at jessie.meyen@ecm-inc.com

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