It's Official: Norwood Athletics Moving to Tri-Valley League

Christopher Tremblay
Issue Date: 
December, 2017
Article Body: 

Norwood recently passed its last milestone and was granted permission for its athletic teams to join the likes of Ashland, Bellingham, Dedham, Dover-Sherborn, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norton and Westwood beginning the 2018-19 school year. Norwood athletic will soon be part of the Tri-Valley League.
Norwood Athletic Director Jon Longley meet with his coaches regarding the possible move out of the Bay State Conference (BSC) and into the Tri-Valley League (TVL) and found that 70 percent favored the move. The 30-percent who opposed the move sited honor and tradition as to why they should stay put.
According to the Norwood AD, Mustang teams have continued to trend downward and were becoming increasingly less competitive in the BSC. In 1989, Norwood was the largest team in the league, but through the years while the other schools have seen a spike in student enrollment, Norwood has stayed stagnant with about 950 students. During that time frame, some schools increased their student population by over 50-percent.
As of today, Norwood sits at 957 students, while Wellesley has increased its student body from 843 to 1512 – a significant increase of 669 students. The next three schools Natick (1090 to 1664), Braintree (1192 to 1755) and Walpole (714 to 1143), have increased their school population by an average of 522 students.
Longley sat down with the Norwood School Committee last June and showed them the trend of BSC schools and where the Mustangs stood amongst them. The committee then gave the AD the ok to apply to the TVL and Longley did so in September. In October, TVL officials accepted Norwood into the league unanimously. Longley then asked the BSC to release the school, which they did, and then all that was left was for the Central District of the MIAA to sign off on the move.
While Norwood’s student numbers did not move at the increased pace as the other BSC schools, the Mustangs found themselves on the short end of the stick when it came to athletic competition. Over the last three years, Norwood has won less than 33 % of its games, while capturing only 6 Hergett Championship; 5 coming from two teams, softball (3) and baseball (2).
During the three sports seasons, the Mustangs have put up poor numbers all around. The fall sports teams are a combined 106-305-15, for a 25.8 winning percentage, with the Field Hockey team the only one in the positive (42-13-6) amongst nine competitive teams. Winter sports were 108-244-44 (32.6%), with girls basketball at 34-30; and the spring posted the best overall winning percentage going 146-261 for 35.9%. Of the 146 wins, 89 belong to the softball (51-13) and the baseball (38-26) teams, while every other spring team found themselves under .500.
In moving to the TVL, Norwood joins a league similar to itself in size. As of this year, Hopkinton has the largest student body with 1092 kids, while Millis is at the bottom with 390.
“The genesis of it all is that the TVL communities are very similar in size to that of Norwood,” Longley said. “That makes it much more equitable for us.”
So as the seasons come to an end this school year, it will be the final time the Mustangs suit up to take on a BSC foe, and come next fall, they will join their new league and look to begin new rivals in the TVL.