Millis & Medway Will Face Dedham In TVL This Fall

By Ken HAMWEY Staff Sports Writer
Medway A.D. Rob Pearl doesn’t anticipate travel issues with Dedham’s entry into the TVL.
Issue Date: 
July, 2017
Article Body: 

Medway and Millis will have a new opponent on their athletic schedules this fall. Dedham, which has been competing in the Bay State Conference, will join the Tri Valley League in September and become the 11th member of the circuit.
TVL athletic directors approved the measure by a 10-0 vote and the league’s principals also voted 10-0 to add Dedham, which was the smallest school in the BSC. Its enrollment for the 2016-17 school year was 740, which falls in the middle of the 10 TVL schools.
Chuck Grant, Millis High’s veteran A.D., believes Dedham’s entrance will be a plus for the TVL. “Dedham is a class act and will be a great addition to the TVL,’’ Grant emphasized. “And hopefully, the change will enable them to enjoy success like they had in the past in the BSC.’’
Dedham’s athletic director, Steve Traister, is delighted with the impending move but also acutely aware that his school is leaving “a great league that unfortunately outgrew us.’’
“We’re entering a league that is a better fit, both in terms of competitive size and geography,’’ said Traister, who’s been the A.D. at Dedham for four years and who previously was the A.D. at Milton. “It’s not about winning games, it’s about being competitive on a nightly basis. We’ve played non-league games against TVL schools and we’ve competed with them at the middle-school level. This is a move where everyone was on board — the community, coaches, parents and students.’’
Dedham had enrollments of 2,000-plus in the 1970s but, as time passed, so did the town’s dynamic. Traister said “the town got older.’’ Also, Dedham is surrounded by private schools, namely Xaverian, Catholic Memorial, Nobel & Greenough, Ursuline and BC High.
“We struggled in the BSC but residents of Dedham shouldn’t think we’re going to dominate in the TVL,’’ Traister said. “Medfield and Westwood have won state championships in a variety of sports, Bellingham won state titles in softball and baseball a few years ago and Holliston is a force in football. What’s good for us is that we no longer will be playing schools like Framingham, Weymouth and Brookline that have enrollments three times our size.’’
Having 11 teams in the TVL might seem like an invitation for a scheduling nightmare but Medway A.D. Rob Pearl, who is the president of the TVL, said it will take some creative maneuvering. “Dedham will be in the TVL’s Small Division along with Medway, Millis, Ashland, Bellingham and Dover-Sherborn,’’ he noted. “But, when two schools have a quality rivalry and want to schedule more than one game in a season, then two cross-over games can be scheduled.’’
About seven years ago in 2009, Dedham mulled leaving the BSC for the TVL but the community wasn’t 100 percent on board. At that time, Milford High and Dedham were seeking entrance but neither school was added. Dedham gave the Mass. Interscholastic Athletic Association a year’s notice and the BSC got two years notice on Dedham’s impending switch to the TVL.
“The TVL wasn’t looking to add a team but we knocked on its door and the A.D.s graciously invited us in for a presentation,’’ Traister said. “School principal Ron McCarthy and I attended, and the school eventually was accepted. “The BSC, to its credit, tried to accommodate us in various ways, but we no longer fit. We’re expected to give our kids an opportunity to compete against school our size and joining the TVL is simply a better fit.’’
Dedham’s Thanksgiving Day football game with Norwood, which has been a tradition for 80-plus years, will not be impacted. The TVL’s grid rivalries are all set and there is no team in need of a holiday opponent. Also, Thanksgiving Day games no longer have any significance with the current playoff format.
Pearl indicated that at some point the TVL may look to add another school to bring league membership to 12. Wayland and Weston High have inquired about potential membership but nothing has materialized on that front. Norwood has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the 12th slot.
Pearl also noted that Dedham, which borders TVL member Westwood, should pose no major travel concerns. He did, however, say that he hoped that current Route 109 reconstruction would not interfere with road games to Dedham.
The 10 schools that currently comprise the TVL are Ashland, Bellingham, Dover-Sherborn, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norton and Westwood. The league, which was formalized in 1966, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.