Shady Side Academy’s Chuck DiNardo excited about new alignment

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Sunday, January 21, 2018 | 11:00 PM


The WPIAL board of directors met Monday to approve conference alignments for fall sports. In football, Fox Chapel will be in Conference 3-5A with Armstrong, Hampton, Kiski Area, Mars, North Hills, Penn Hills and Shaler.

Shady Side Academy will play in Conference 1-2A with Apollo-Ridge, Avonworth, East Allegheny, Steel Valley, Summit Academy and Valley.

SSA coach Chuck DiNardo likes the setup.

“I feel it's a positive for us. I'm excited about the new look,” DiNardo said. “There are a number of established programs that have enjoyed success in the WPIAL. This should be a highly competitive conference with great games every Friday night.

“We will continue to battle against longtime foes Apollo-Ridge and Valley. A-R has some talented young guys that had the opportunity to play early and are led by a great coach in John Skiba. Valley is also returning a great deal of talent and brings back some big bodies that can move.”

Longtime rival Freeport will be in Conference 2.

“When we got together with Freeport, it always seemed to be a little more intense, a little more physical and often a conference title was on the line,” DiNardo said. “We considered playing up into 3A to keep some of our Route 28 rivalries alive, but travel played the biggest factor in entering 2A. Some of our old conference foes will be making some long trips.”

Burrell, Deer Lakes and Freeport will travel to Mt. Pleasant, Elizabeth Forward, Yough and Uniontown.

“We will face some new challenges. Steel Valley has long been dominant, and East Allegheny will continue to improve,” DiNardo said. “We won a close nonconference matchup with Avonworth last year. We're excited about the move. We'll have a lot to prove in the fall and a great deal of work in the meantime.”

Marty Stewart is a freelance writer.

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