Beginning in the 2019-20 academic year, Hoxie High School and Hoxie Junior High School athletics and activities will have a new home — at least partially.

With numbers seemingly on the rise for the school in the small northwest Kansas community, officials at the school felt it would better suit its programs and activities to be part of a league with some of the bigger schools in the region.

Hoxie will join the Mid-Continent League partially next year, then be a full member the the following year when the new football district cycle rolls around with the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

A partial member means the Indians will participate in most of the league’s tournaments next year, including wrestling meets, track meets and golf meets. Then the following year, Hoxie will put together a full slate of MCL schools on its schedule for football, basketball and volleyball.

Hoxie Junior and High School Principal Mark Wildeman said with numbers on the rise, the move just made sense.

“It’s a better fit for the direction our school seems to be heading.”

He also said the school seems to be heading in the direction of making a return to 11-man football. Right now, the cutoff for having to compete at the 11-man level is 100 kids in grades ninth, 10th and 11th. Under 100 and schools can still participate in eight-man football.

Had they been forced to count this year, Wildeman said, Hoxie would have had 99. Numbers are increasing.

“We’re going to be really close for the next cycle,” said Wildeman, in his first year in his position. “And it will be a struggle for us to get an 11-man junior high schedule going. That was one of the factors.”

Right now, Hoxie competes as part of the Northwest Kansas League, which includes Atwood-Rawlins County, Dighton, Oberlin, Quinter, Wallace County, St. Francis and Greeley County — all eight-man football playing schools.

The move to the MCL makes the league become an 11-school league. Seven of those schools — Ellis, TMP-Marian, Norton, Oakley, Phillipsburg, Plainville and Smith Center play 11-man. The other three — Hill City, Stockton and WaKeeney-Trego — made the switch to eight-man.

The MCL also has been rumored to be seeking another school to keep membership numbers even.

“Even on the JV level, (the move) should strengthen our schedule,” Wildeman said, more so speaking about being able to play full junior varsity games.

The NWKL voted and was gracious enough to honor Hoxie’s wishes, Wildeman said.