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Archive for December 14, 2006

Dec. 14, 2006 — PIAA District 12 ramps it up

Before 2003, there were four leagues in and around the city of Philadelphia who competed in their own leagues for their own end-of-season field hockey championships.

The Philadelphia Public League (seven teams), Philadelphia Catholic League (10 teams), InterAc Conference (seven teams) and Friends School League (eight teams) competed in their league field hockey campaigns and would meet up with other private schools in the region as well as with the occasional public school. They did not, however, play for a state championship; a league playoff would crown a postseason champion.

That changed when the Philadelphia Public League joined the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association in 2004. That has allowed its league champion to advance to the state field hockey through District 12. In addition, that led the Philadelphia school district has made upgrades at city athletic facilities, including the installation of artificial grass for field hockey and other sports.

An announcement earlier this week was seen as pretty much inevitable: the Catholic League is joining the PIAA as well.

Of course, these aren’t the only parochial schools already playing field hockey in the PIAA; regional Roman Catholic high schools in Harrisburg, Allentown, and Bethlehem have good field hockey programs. A school started by the Moravians of central Europe made the PIAA tournament in 2006, and the runners-up in the Class AA championship of 2002 was Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the PCL teams located outside the city limits such as Bristol Conwell-Egan (Pa.) and Radnor Archbishop Carroll (Pa.), since they are located in District 1 territory, and not inside the borders of District 12.

I’ll also be interested to see whether the InterAc or Friends School League are going to be far behind. I believe the former will like to retain a measure of independence, and may so far as to form some sort of alliance with the nascent Mid-Atlantic Prep League to create some sort of regional umbrella organization like the New England Preparatory Schools Athletic Conference.

And if the FSL joins, will Moorestown (N.J.) Friends be in a type of state tournament limbo like Phillipsburg (N.J.) was when it was a member of the East Penn Conference?

Stay tuned. This could get messy.

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