Thursday, September 4, 2008

Realignment pros and cons

Talked to a number of different coaches in several sports concerning the most recent WPIAL realignment, which runs from 2008-09 to 2009-10. There was a wide range of opinions, though more favored to the negative.

One in favor of the realignment was Peters Township football coach Nick Milchovich.

Peters Township moved up to Class AAAA this year and became a natural fit for the Great Southern Conference. It gives the Indians several natural rivalries, such as PT vs. Canon-McMillan, PT vs. Upper St. Clair and PT vs. Bethel Park. McKeesport was moved out, which makes the conference weaker for the time being.

Still, the impact should be felt at the gate.

"When we made the move, I told the kids that this is where we're going to be and we'll be here for a long time," Milchovich said before the season kicked off. "From a geographic standpoint, it just makes sense."

Pat Vereb, coach of the successful Peters Township girls soccer team, wasn't as thrilled.

Peters Township previously competed in Section 5-AAA, which it dominated. The Indians were moved to Section 4, but it does not appear to be a stronger league and it eliminated section rivalries with Upper St. Clair and Canon-McMillan.

"We know we're adding a good Bethel Park team to the schedule but it didn't seem to make much sense," Vereb said.

Count Fort Cherry football coach Tim Garry and others in the Class A Black Hills Conference among the curious concerning the realignment.

Clairton was added to the Black Hills, while Beth-Center was logically shifted to the Tri-County South. Still, Clairton was added over teams such as Carlynton, which dropped down this year.

Garry and Vereb each wondered if the WPIAL consults maps when they make the conferences.

Hard to disagree with them.

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