The Suburban One League Executive Committee voted Tuesday, May 2, to realign the league beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.
The motion was “to approve the recommendation made by the SOL Realignment Committee to maintain a three-conference league based on the determined criteria of geography, enrollment and traditional rivalries. The recommended alignment does NOT include football or any other sport where all members schools do not field a team.”
Three schools are changing conferences in the realignment. Abington will move from the National Conference to the American, William Tennent from the Continental to the National and Quakertown from the American to the Continental.
Realigning the conferences based on geography will help the students in the classroom.
“It’s really going to help out our student athletes as far as focusing on the student part,” Abington Athletic Director Todd Vaccaro said. “Being in the National Conference playing many schools in Lower Bucks County, we had some extreme travel distances and times that really impacted us from a departure from classes for 3:30 after school games and then also long days and nights for those 5:30 or 7 p.m. night games. We really see it being beneficial for our students missing less class time and really minimizing the travel to and from those schools.”
The big change in the Continental is the return of Quakertown, Pennridge’s chief rival.
“I believe the realignment is a positive change for our student athletes,” Pennridge Athletic Director David Babb said, “as it decreases the travel time for our student athletes and increases the number of contests against rivals.”
Abington has been a member of the National Conference since the league’s current configuration in 2008.
“I think what we’re going to see is really building rivalries with local, neighboring schools,” Vaccaro said. “If you ask any Abington student who our main rival is, they would say Cheltenham. The opportunity now to have them in a home and away contest is great. We play them in every sport, but it’s usually just one time a year as a non-league game. Now to have the opportunity to have a home and away with our chief rival is something we’re definitely looking forward to.”
Tennent and Quakertown will return to their longtime homes after a two-year stay — beginning in the current academic year that is coming to an end — in the Continental and American Conferences, respectively.
Below are what the conference will look like when the changes go into effect in the 2018-19 year.
Central Bucks East
Central Bucks West
Central Bucks South
Council Rock North
Council Rock South
Harry S. Truman
TOP PHOTO: Cheltenham’s Jack Clark tries to get a shot past Abington’s Lucas Monroe. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)