Norwood’s Entrance into The Tri Valley League Is Official

Ken Hamwey, Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
January, 2018
Article Body: 

A new year often comes with some change, and that’s what schools in the Tri Valley League will experience when their sports schedules will include a new member.
The athletic directors and the principals of the 11 schools in the TVL voted unanimously to accept Norwood as the 12th member of the circuit. Starting in September, Norwood will compete in the TVL’s Large Division and no longer be part of the Bay State Conference.
“The addition of Norwood to the league is a win for both Norwood and the TVL,’’ said Mike Grimes, the Ashland athletic director. “This will not only strengthen the TVL, but also continue to increase the opportunities for our student-athletes in Ashland and throughout the league.
“While coaching in Natick, I had the opportunity to compete against Norwood every year. I truly enjoyed traveling there because they were always gracious hosts and had well-kept athletic facilities. I look forward to working with their A.D., Jon Longley. He will be a great fit and a great addition among the other A.D.s within the league.’’
Holliston’s A.D., Matt Baker, also regards Norwood’s entrance as a major plus. “Lots of positives with Norwood entering the league,’’ he said. “This gets us back to an even number of teams with a perfect split for the TVL Large and Small Divisions. I think they’re a good fit geographically and competitively. I’m looking forward to the future of our league with 12 teams and to start new rivalries and traditions with Norwood.
Norwood’s School Committee got the ball rolling to leave the BSC when it voted, 3-2, for its athletic director to file an application for entrance into the TVL. The school’s enrollment was 957 for 2016-2017 and, with Dedham’s departure from the BSC and subsequent entrance into the TVL, Norwood became the smallest-enrolled school in the BSC.
When the move to the TVL became official, Longley expressed delight that the Mustangs will be developing new relationships and new rivalries but he also noted that Norwood was leaving a first-class league. “We’re going from one excellent league to another,’’ he said. “The Bay State League is top-notch but our student-athletes now will have an opportunity to compete against schools that are similar to our size. We’ll be a good fit for the TVL, in terms of geography and enrollment.’’
Norwood’s relationship with Dedham will remain intact, especially in football where the two schools have been Thanksgiving rivals for decades. “Dedham has been our main rival in so many sports and now it’ll be exciting to reunite with them in a new league,’’ Longley said. “Dedham and Norwood will stay well-connected. Change often is accompanied with apprehension but a majority of our community supports the move. Once we get involved in competition, it should be a good fit.’’
Longley previously said that Norwood was outmatched in the BSC and could not compete with schools the size of Newton North, Wellesley, Needham and Natick. He also indicated that a poll of Norwood coaches revealed that 70 percent of those responding favored moving to the TVL.
The TVL athletic directors invited Norwood officials to make a presentation for admission last September. Norwood will be the third largest-enrolled school in the TVL, trailing Hopkinton and Westwood. Norwood’s entry now gives the TVL 12 members, six in the large division and six in the small division.
The TVL Large Division includes Holliston, Hopkinton, Westwood, Norton, Medfield and Norwood. The Small Division is composed of Millis, Medway, Bellingham, Dover-Sherborn, Ashland and Dedham.
“Norwood provides great balance to the Tri Valley, particularly in light of Dedham’s addition,’’ said Bellingham A.D. Michael Connor. “Norwood will nicely round out the Tri Valley’s large-school division.’’
Medway High A.D. Rob Pearl, was on board as the TVL president when Dedham applied for entrance into the league and he’s pleased Norwood will round out the membership to a dozen participants. “To get to 12 schools is truly a benefit,’’ said Pearl. “It will make scheduling easier and also streamline it. Norwood seems like a good fit, both in terms of size and competitiveness.’’
Another A.D., Chuck Grant of Millis, also expressed a welcoming sentiment. “Norwood brings a state of the art facility coupled with a level of competition commensurate with our league. Their addition will enhance our scheduling as it will afford us two six-team divisions. We look forward to their entry into the TVL.’’
Lucas Giguere, Bellingham High’s principal, was pleased with the addition of Norwood. “We’re excited to welcome Norwood into the league,’’ he said. “Their community mirrors the other outstanding communities we have in the Tri Valley League.’’