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Milford is Changing Leagues

Milford Athletic Director, Richard Piergustavo, informed the School Committee, at their November 3 meeting, that Midland-Wachusett League officials have given their consent to Milford's leaving that league, in order to join the smaller Hockomock League.

The league change was spurred by Milford's desire to reduce travel-time for Milford sports teams and to cut transportation costs. Hockomock League teams are in closer proximity to Milford.

With the exception of the football program, the change will become effective beginning in the fall of 2012. Football will change in 2013. "Initially I thought that (changing leagues) would be easy," Piergustavo stated, "(but) ... football has a two-year cycle (and) for us to leave in mid-cycle would leave gaps in multiple schedules. Nine other schools would have a gap. Unlike other sports, football is played once a week and it would virtually almost effect up to Division 5 ... because of who plays who and when."

The league change would also impact both the swimming program and boys' volleyball programs, although to a lesser extent.

"The Hockomock (League) swims boys and girls in the winter," he told the Board. "Any school that is added, who has a league sport, must participate during that season." Piergustavo noted that his main concern was post-season diving and "having divers have enough meets to qualify." After several conversations with swimming coach, David Chaplin, however, Piergustavo decided "I'm satisfied that we're not going to be taking anything away or eliminating any program or any opportunities for our kids."

Within the Hockomock League, both boys and girls swim teams are active in the same season, "Some schools have it as co-ed," Piergustavo noted, "but we will have it separate." He added that he hoped to be able to negotiate the services of a "diving specialist" for the swim teams, at no added cost, through a reworking of the current stipends paid to the coaches. "(It) would really enhance the diving program, because our divers currently go to Holy Cross (or other) outside programs. If we have a diving specialist as part of our coaching team," Piergustavo surmised, "that might eliminate that and some cost and travel that are associated with being a diver."

Although the Hockomock League does not have boys' volleyball, Milford will still be able to compete and qualify for post-season tournaments in that sport through an agreement with the current Midland Wachusett League. He said, "The downside is that we are not part of the League (but) Midland-Wachusett has agreed to give us a schedule as we move forward. So, in the spring of 2013, we will play all the Midland-Wachusett teams that we currently play, in addition to other teams that we schedule. What I'm going to try to do between now and the beginning of the spring, is to look at, potentially, another league, where we could get 'associate' status."

Piergustavo concluded the Hockomock League is "excited to have us ... (They've) kept me in the loop as far as all their meetings (are concerned). I feel like I'm part of the league right now."


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