Ligonier Valley officially welcomed back to WPIAL

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019 | 8:50 PM


It’s official. Ligonier Valley has returned to the WPIAL after spending the past 50 years in District 6.

The PIAA Board of Control on Wednesday voted unanimously, 31-0, to allow Ligonier Valley to leave District 6 and join the WPIAL.

It was the final piece of a five-step process started in October when Ligonier Valley’s school board allowed the school’s administration to seek a return to the WPIAL after moving to District 6 in 1969.

The Heritage Conference, which Ligonier Valley has competed in since 2000, and District 6 had previously voted to allow the school to leave. The WPIAL voted last month to accept the Rams back into the district.

“They’re a Westmoreland County school district. We’re happy they are back,” WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said.

Ligonier Valley spent 43 years in the WPIAL (1927-69) before leaving for PIAA District 6.

Ligonier Valley and Laurel Valley were part of the same school district but joined and formed one team in every sport in 2010.

The school sponsors 18 athletic teams (football, wrestling, baseball, softball, girls volleyball, cheerleading, soccer, track, basketball, golf, swimming and cross country).

One of the reasons Ligonier Valley wanted to leave District 6 was more stability in scheduling and competition.

“We are pleased that the PIAA approved the move into the WPIAL, as we believe it will provide all of our athletes with more opportunities in the future,” Ligonier Valley superintendent Dr. Christine Oldham said.

Ligonier Valley officials sent out a survey to the school’s coaches and all were in favor of the move.

Former school board president Ervin Tantlinger said: “Many of our athletes aren’t getting competition in the Heritage Conference. The soccer team, girls golf team and softball team have to look outside the conference and District 6 for games.

“The junior varsity football team played very few games. We feel it will be better for our students, even though they will face tougher competition. It’s a good move for our students.”

WPIAL assistant executive director Amy Scheuneman added: “As indicated by our board’s vote, we fully welcome the Ligonier Valley School District into the WPIAL. With their boundaries located within Westmoreland County, we feel this is a logical fit and will add another great school to our district.”

The Rams’ football team is 97-25 since merging, winning six Heritage Conference and four Appalachian Conference titles, putting together a 37-game conference winning streak and playing in four consecutive PIAA District 6 Class 2A championship games, winning two (2016 and 2017).

While in the WPIAL, Ligonier Valley was 139-220-23.

The boys basketball team has played in the past two District 6 Class 3A title games, winning in 2018.

During the past PIAA cycle, Ligonier Valley played in Class 2A for all sports except for boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball. They were Class 3A in those sports.

The baseball team and softball team have played deep into the district playoffs and the track team has dominated the Heritage Conference for years.

Ligonier Valley will begin playing in the WPIAL during the 2020-21 season.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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