ROTTERDAM -- Athletic competitions between Mohonasen and Schalmont will carry more weight beginning next fall.
Mohonasen is leaving the Suburban Council and will join its Rotterdam rival as a Colonial Council member in the 2018-19 academic year.
"We thought this was in the best interest of our kids and athletic programs moving forward," said Jason Friesen, Mohonasen's first-year athletic director. "It's a positive switch for our school."
Class A Mohonasen will go from being one of the smaller Suburban Council schools to one of the larger Colonial Council schools when it joins Albany Academy [boys and girls], Catholic Central, Cobleskill-Richmondville, Cohoes, Ichabod Crane, Holy Names, Lansingburgh, LaSalle, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, Voorheesville, Watervliet and its Route 7 neighbor Schalmont.
"The rivalry gets blown up now that it's league," said John Gallo, who graduated from Mohonasen and serves as the Colonial Council president and Schalmont's athletic director.
Mohonasen and Class B Schalmont for years have met in non-league competitions and tournaments, developing a friendly rivalry between the schools that are just under five miles apart.
"That rivalry is going to be fun to watch," Friesen said.
Gallo said the Colonial Council administrators voted unanimously to accept Mohonasen as its newest member.
"Each school was represented by its principal, athletic director and superintendent," Gallo said. "That [vote] was a great sign for Mohonasen that we wanted them. Athletically, they are a very good fit.
"I take my hat off to Mohonasen for stepping up and doing the right thing for their [athletic] program at this time."
Mohonasen's ability to field lower level teams was a plus, Gallo said.
"A very strong consideration was the lower level sports," Gallo said. "We have modified and JV [junior varsity] in the Colonial Council, and they will bring teams for all of the sports. The ability to fill spots is so important. We are a whole league. Not just varsity."
Friesen said Mohonasen was released from the Suburban Council following approval by the league's principals, who had beforehand received a positive recommendation from the league's athletic directors.
"The principals have the deciding vote," Friesen said. "They voted in favor."
Section II Executive Director Ed Dopp said Mohonasen had been investigating its league options for some time.
"This has been talked about for years, and it finally came to fruition," Dopp said. "They reached out to the Colonial and maybe talked to other leagues. The Colonial said they'd be interested. The Colonial looked at all the factors and ultimately said yes."
Competing with mostly larger schools in the Suburban Council, Mohonasen teams have run the gamut of success from championship caliber to basement dweller.
"It's cyclical, too," Friesen said. "Some teams are thriving right now. We would like to have sustainability across the board."
Catholic Central and LaSalle are the Colonial Council's Class AA schools. The rest of the schools are Class A or below.