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Panhandle teams set to join PVC

December 03, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

In the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, Martinsburg, Jefferson and Hedgesville have been accepted into the Potomac Valley Conference following the demise of the Cumberland Valley Athletic League.

When Hampshire dropped out of the CVAL, it left those schools, along with Musselman and Fort Hill, without a league affiliation this year.

"We were looking for a new league for competition for our athletes," said Martinsburg athletic director Greg Reed. "We joined to help alleviate the scheduling problems in all sports of teams dodging us. But we did so with the idea of there being more than four Class AAA schools."

Dodging Martinsburg was Hampshire, and now it will be interesting to see how the alignment in the PVC plays out. Hampshire has 1,200 students and Martinsburg 1,675, and both should be in the Class AAA division when the PVC aligns this week in a meeting at Moorefield High School. Hedgesville, Jefferson and Musselman would also be Class AAA schools.

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Hampshire, already a member of the PVC, also has joined the new Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference. That conference will include Allegany, Fort Hill, Frankfort, Keyser, Northern Garrett, Southern Garrett and Mountain Ridge, the new school formed by the Beall-Westmar consolidation.

"Re-classification for 2007-08 still has to take place in West Virginia," said Reed. "We've been accepted, but it may not be cut in stone depending on the outcome of the meeting, and I'm sure (Jefferson AD John Brown) and (Hedgesville AD Ron Allen) feel the same. There's a new school in Jefferson County that will be opening, Keyser should bump up to Class AAA and Hampshire would make it seven schools."

Currently, the Apple Valley League serves as a competitive outlet for those schools, along with PVC member Berkeley Springs, in girls sports. St. Maria Goretti and St. James are also AVL members for girls sports.

Reed said Martinsburg has filled eight dates on its football schedule for 2007, including a season opener at home with Morgantown, a road match at Urbana, a series renewal with Fort Hill, a two-year agreement with Potomac Falls and a home match with Turner-Ashby of Bridgewater, Va.

Even the Apple Valley League has been, and will be, subject to some shuffling.

Hancock withdrew from the AVL this year and Mercersburg Academy, a previous member of the league in girls sports, has been accepted to rejoin the league and will play some of the league members this season. The school will not be eligible for any league titles this year.

However, St. James will leave the AVL at the conclusion of the current school year.

"We are just out-numbered in terms of enrollment by the AVL schools," said athletic director Paul Salit. "We're certainly open to ideas for the future. There aren't a lot of options for schools with 90 girls. We're still in a league for field hockey and lacrosse (Melville Church Athletic conference) and that has been good for us. Nothing changes for the boys."

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