Starting in Fall 2017, the Wasaren League will have another new member as Berlin Central School District joins the league. [private]Berlin will become the 10th member of the league, and comes to the Wasaren from the Central Hudson Valley League, the same league Waterford-Halfmoon Union Free School District left before joining the Wasaren League in the Fall of 2016.
Berlin Central School Superintendent Stephen Young said, “The Berlin School District is very pleased that our scholar athletes will now be competing in the Wasaren League.” He continued, “The Board of Education and I anticipate that the level of competition in the new league will allow our students to hone their skills in soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, track and field, and cross-country.”
Mike Apostol from the Hoosic Valley Central School District is the president of the Wasaren League, and he said, “we feel that Berlin is a good fit because of its size, location, and philosophy that sports are an integral part of the school community.”
Apostol also explained how Berlin focused on the best interest of their students when arriving at this decision. “We embrace the idea that Superintendent Dr. Stephen Young, High School Principal Dr. Cathie Allain, and Athletic Director Mr. Arthur Schmich have each student’s interest at heart which is the philosophy of each member of the Wasaren League.”
Waterford-Halfmoon Union Free School District, along with Saratoga Catholic, joined the Wasaren League in fall of 2016. Patrick Pomerville, Superintendent of the Waterford-Halfmoon UFSD said that their district “is very excited to be a newer member of the Wasaren League.” Pomerville also noted that joining the league had a positive impact on students. “The quality of competition, the reduced travel time for away games, and the possibility to develop positive competitive rivalries with local teams were all great reasons for Waterford-Halfmoon to join the Wasaren League.” He added, “We look forward to the athletic growth of both our boys and girls teams in this league.”
Young said, “The girls and boys teams will be challenged, and they will be in a program that will allow continuous improvement.”
Dr. Cathie Allain, Middle/High School Principal at Berlin said, “I am very excited Berlin will be joining the Wasaren League. I feel our participation in the league will encourage our players to be athletically competitive at a new level. We are looking forward to the support of our community at future league games.”
According to Tom Husser, the Athletic Director at Hoosick Falls, “The Wasaren League had a win/win situation come into play when Berlin decided to join the league. It enabled us to create two divisions of five. It also enabled some sports like boys soccer to now have two non-league games – something that they did not have last year.
According to the BEDS number for each district, BERLIN has 199 athletes and will start the 2017-18 school year as a Class C school.
Tamarac is the biggest Wasaren League school at 304 athletes and is one of two schools that will be Class B for the 2017-18 school year. The other Class B school is Mechanicville with 283 athletes.
For the 2017-18 school year Stillwater, Hoosick Falls, Hoosic Valley, Waterford, Greenwich, and Cambridge are Class C schools. Spa Catholic is the only Class D school in the league.
With the addition of Berlin as the tenth district, the Wasaren League will go to a two division format with five teams in each, split by smaller schools in one division and the larger in another. The smaller schools are (in order of smallest to largest) Spa Catholic,Waterford, Berlin, Cambridge, and Hoosic Valley. The larger schools (in order of largest to smallest) are Tamarac, Mechanicville, Stillwater, Hoosick Falls, and Greenwich. The league has not made an official decision yet as to how the league championship will be decided.
Husser explained, “We had choices of dividing north/south, east/west or small school/large school and decided the small school/large school would be best and fairest for the league. To avoid any issues, we decided to use the BEDS numbers for the division breakup.”
Joining the Wasaren League also brings schoolwide changes to Berlin. Young explained that “In conjunction with this move, Berlin will make some changes to our K-12 physical education programs to help our students be successful in the Wasaren League.”
Husser thinks the league is in a good place. “This ten team league is one of the most organized and competitive leagues in Section 2. The smaller schools get to compete with schools their own size and then get tested by the larger schools, and the larger schools beat each other up and get themselves ready for post season play.”
The name of the league is a portmanteau of WAshington County, SAratoga County, RENsselaer County. The Wasaren League has been in existence for decades, and the roster of teams has changed over the years.
Young said, “This is a long-term commitment for our students and their parents. The Berlin community is committed to improving all programs and look forward to the benefits of moving into the new league next year.”[/private]