Berwick Would Be Welcomed Into District 4
If Berwick does decide to leave the Wyoming Valley Conference and join the Heartland Conference, officials from District 4 will be receptive to the Bulldogs joining.
That much was clear on Wednesday when officials from District 4 met and were unanimous in allowing Berwick to join. All that is left now is to see what Berwick will decide to do.
“Pending a discussion, it was favorable. We voted unanimously, but there are questions everybody still has,” said Williamsport athletic director Sean McCann. “There are still some questions that need to be answered. But everyone was receptive to them joining.”
Two of the questions that will need to be answered are divisional alignment and where Berwick’s exact enrollment would fit in as far as District 4 is concerned. McCann did say that should Berwick elect to leave District 2, travel for Berwick athletic programs would not be that big of an issue.
“It would be an asset to have them in the Heartland Conference from a competitive standpoint,” McCann said. “They would be in a division with Central Mountain, Jersey Shore, Williamsport, Selinsgrove and Shikellamy.”
While there is no hard deadline for when Berwick needs to make a final decision to join the conference for the start of the 2020-21 sports season, time potentially can be an issue. The Heartland Conference is in the preliminary stages of putting together its schedule for the 2020-21 two-year cycle. That means the conference will need to have an idea of whether Berwick will need to be added to the schedule.
“The Heartland Conference is more proactive than District 2,” McCann said. “District 2 waits until the numbers come out and we don’t get a schedule until the December or January before the season begins. The Heartland does it a year in advance. The Heartland works with the Northern Tier to develop a schedule and help everyone out.”
McCann said that Berwick officials will meet with officials from District 4 this week at Southern Columbia with the hopes of being able to answer any questions District 4 may have.
McCann, though, as the athletic director at Williamsport, is in the unique position of having Berwick on its football schedule, and now sees the potential of Berwick joining District 4.
“I would hope to keep them on our schedule,” McCann said referring to football. “We are losing Central Mountain off our schedule for the next cycle. I would love to keep Berwick on. Obviously with the tradition and the strength of the program, we would certainly miss that on the eighth- and ninth-grade level. That is something our kids and coaches look forward to. With the meeting next week, Berwick officials will be able to put some answers on the table. We will see where Berwick goes with that. That may be when they make the final decision.”
On the heels of Berwick discussing the possibility of moving to the Heartland Conference at a board meeting on Monday, Northwest athletic director Matt Mills confirmed the district held a co-curricular meeting on Tuesday, and there were discussions about Northwest potentially joining District 4.
Mills said it was more of a fact finding mission than anything else. Mills said the discussion included the school principal as well as the head coaches at the school.
“We just had a coaches discussion, that is all,” Mills said. “It was just a discussion about how the conference (WVC) would line up and where we would fit. We are looking at options.”
Mills was referring to how the WVC will look now that the three Wilkes-Barre public schools will merge their athletic programs beginning in the fall sports season. With the consolidation, the WVC will be losing two smaller schools in Meyers and GAR.
“We just had a meeting to look at our options,” Mills said. “We looked at all our options given the consolidation and what is happening in the WVC. We made no decision, there were no petitions. We are just trying to be proactive and see what is out there. Nothing is imminent. We didn’t ask coaches if they were in favor or against. We haven’t requested anything from anybody.”
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