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Little Ten Conference approves addition of IMSA

Illinois Math and Science Academy will join in 2021-22

IMSA’s Johnny Yelenick (42) and Ryan Talusan defend Sandwich's Jacob Heilemeier (21) during a Class 3A Plano Regional quarterfinal last winter. IMSA will be joining the Little 10 Conference in the fall of 2021.
IMSA’s Johnny Yelenick (42) and Ryan Talusan defend Sandwich's Jacob Heilemeier (21) during a Class 3A Plano Regional quarterfinal last winter. IMSA will be joining the Little 10 Conference in the fall of 2021.

The Little Ten Conference gained a new member for the 2020-21 school year when DePue was approved by the league earlier this year.

The Little Ten will expand once more in 2021-22.

The conference announced Wednesday that Little Ten athletic directors and principals met in late May and voted to accept Illinois Math and Science Academy into the conference beginning with the fall of 2021.

IMSA's addition will bring the Little Ten to 11 members, although Leland currently co-ops with Somonauk in multiple sports. Current members are newcomer DePue and Earlville, Hiawatha, Hinckley-Big Rock, Indian Creek, LaMoille-Ohio, Leland, Newark, Serena and Somonauk.

In a press release, league officials said the Little Ten Conference is a strong small-school conference and "we are excited to see where we will be in the next hundred years. With a strong conference brings unity, growth and potential."

The Little Ten Conference was formed for the 1919-1920 school year. Founding members were Earlville, Hinckley, Leland, Paw Paw, Plano, Rollo, Sandwich, Shabbona, Somonauk and Waterman.

The Little Ten Conference Boys Basketball Tournament is the oldest conference tournament in Illinois, held every season since 1920. The tournament celebrated its 101st playing in 2020.

The league currently sponsors the following sports and activities: boys golf, boys soccer, girls volleyball, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, band, choir and scholastic bowl.

IMSA is currently a member of the Northeastern Athletic Conference (NAC). Unlike the current Little Ten Conference members, it routinely plays above 1A in the IHSA postseason — currently Class 2A in boys soccer as well as track and field; and Class 3A in girls volleyball, girls basketball and boys basketball, softball and baseball — because of its size (enrollment usually in the 600s) and the IHSA's non-boundaried school multiplier.

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