Changes are upon us in area high school sports starting this fall. And for one, I am excited to see what the future holds with the new-look Greater Western Ohio Conference and Central Buckeye Conference.

It will definitely have a different feel to years past. Gone for example are the rivalries between Tippecanoe and Tecumseh, and I personally look for a Tipp-Troy and Tipp-Butler rivalry to be born. Also, Greenon leaves the CBC next year, so what will their final year in the conference bring before heading off to the Ohio Heritage Conference?

It all begins this month, as practices are now underway for fall sports as the first official day of practice was Monday.

The CBC will have a different look and feel to it. The Kenton Trail Division will lose both Tippecanoe and Stebbins, who are now in the GWOC. It now becomes a five-team division with Tecumseh still residing in the KTD. They will be joined by the likes of Bellefontaine, Springfield Shawnee, Kenton Ridge, and moving into the division for this year only will be Urbana. The Hillclimbers leave the Mad River Division for one season before moving back next year.

So who does that leave in the Mad River? It also becomes a five-team division, with the likes of Northwestern, Greenon, Ben Logan, Graham and Indian Lake. Next season when Greenon leaves for the OHC, Urbana will return to the Mad River Division and Jonathan Alder joins the Kenton Trail Division.

The GWOC also takes on a whole new look, with the addition of the two new teams, and some realignment among divisions.

In the American North Division, it will become a six-team division starting up north with Sidney, then moving south down I-75 with Piqua, Troy, Tippecanoe and Butler. Add in Greenville and that makes a competitive division in a lot of sports, and in my opinion, long-overdue proper geographic alignment.

I look at it as a parent of a former Tipp student athlete, and what kind of time it saves on getting the kids home on a league night, where you are 20 minutes from every divisional opponent except for 40 minutes from Greenville. Those hour-plus trips from Indian Lake, Bellefontaine, Ben Logan and 45 minutes to Urbana made it tough on the kids getting back to do homework and get proper rest.

The other GWOC divisions will look like this: American South- Fairborn, Stebbins, Trotwood Madison, West Carrollton and Xenia. National East- Wayne, Fairmont, Centerville, Beavercreek, and Springfield, National West- Lebanon, Springboro, Northmont, and Miamisburg.

* Several teams will see some earlier starting times for Friday night football games this year. The GWOC went to a 7 p.m. start a couple of years ago, meaning Troy and now Tippecanoe will kick off at 7. Starting this year, the CBC will now also begin at 7 p.m., meaning Greenon, Northwestern and Tecumseh will begin their games earlier. As far as I know, Bethel and Troy Christian will still begin their games at 7:30.

* Also new in 2016 is the addition of a Thursday night Game of the Week, which will be broadcast live on Fox 45.2 each week. Two teams in the coverage area will get to shine on Thursday night this season. In week 2, Tippecanoe will host Shawnee in a non-league contest, and in week 3, Tecumseh heads to Bellbrook for the showcase game.