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DeSchriver column: Time to address non-boundary vs. boundary issue after Twin Valley girls lacrosse loss in PIAA playoffs

For the fourth year in a row, the Twin Valley girls lacrosse team ran into a buzzsaw.

Archbishop Carroll won its fourth straight PIAA Class AA title on Saturday, beating Twin Valley 16-7 for the third straight year in the championship game.

In 2021, Carroll defeated Twin Valley in the semifinals.

The question is not if Twin Valley can ever beat Carroll, it’s why are they even playing them?

Carroll is a non-boundary school, meaning it has students from a much wider area than boundary schools (public schools). Carroll’s website says it draws its students from 90 zip codes.

Twin Valley, on the other hand, is a public school district in Berks County with distinct borders in which its students come from.

But the non-boundary/boundary issue is not new in Pennsylvania. It’s been ongoing for years, but little has been done about it.

In girls lacrosse, Twin Valley had to beat Villa Maria Academy, a non-boundary school in Chester County, in the semifinals in order to force another state final with Carroll.

Twin Valley coach Courtney Kaplan after Saturday’s loss that a change in the playoff format is needed.

“I feel like we have been at a disadvantage for some time,” she said.

While being frustrated with the current format, Kaplan was proud of her team and resigned herself to that’s how the playoff system is set up right now, pointing out the girls on the team dealt with adversity and will be better served in life for it.

In the boys 3A final later Saturday, La Salle College played Radnor, a public school.

La Salle College’s website says it serves students in Montgomery County and the Philadelphia area. That is a lot of territory.

If this doesn’t seem fair, it’s because it’s not.

Non-boundary schools are now routinely dominating team sports in the PIAA — think St. Joseph’s Prep in football as one prime example.

New Jersey and North Carolina solved this problem a long time ago. Both states have separate divisions for non-boundary schools.

In Pennsylvania, it’s time to restructure the state playoff system.

In girls lacrosse, it would be a simple fix. All non-boundary teams would have their own division, with the boundary schools broken into two divisions. If there is pushback on that idea, then put all the non-boundary schools in 3A with the big public school districts and leave 2A for the Twin Valleys of the state.

The ability to draw players from a wider area is just one area where non-boundary schools have an advantage.

Private schools, some in extremely affluent areas, can also have better facilities, and better in-season and out-of-season programs, including going to top-notch tournaments that many boundary schools don’t have the resources to attend.

Non-boundary schools don’t have school boards and taxpayers to deal with. If they want to pour resources into building a girls lacrosse powerhouse, it’s within their powers.

Many boundary schools are strapped financially these days, some using fiscal “athletic tape” to keep their departments afloat.

It’s time the boundary schools get to play on a level playing field. That being one where non-boundary schools have their own divisions in PIAA tournaments.

The Twin Valleys in the state should have a fair chance at winning a state title.

Tom DeSchriver is the sports editor at the Reading Eagle

 

 


Source: Berkshire mont

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