When Dedham High School had a chance to leave the Bay State Conference for the Tri-Valley League eight years ago, not everyone involved was ready for the change. But now third-year athletic director, Steve Traister, who was at Milton at the time serving the same position, saw a chance for his athletic teams to compete on a more even playing field, he took it.
The Marauders will be joining the Tri-Valley League starting in the 2017-2018 season. Traister presented in front of the 10 principles and athletic directors of the TVL and earned a unanimous 10-0 vote to become the 11th team in the conference.
“It was probably the right move for Dedham then (eight years ago), but the community and not all the coaches and not everyone was on board,” Traister said. “Since that time, I think some of the issues that were discussed eight years ago were brought up again and we just felt it was the right time.”
Traister cited population as the main reason for the move.
“Dedham was a much bigger school in the 1970s, 80s, 90s . . . the landscape of the league has changed,” Traister said. “Right now we have a population of 719 students, the second smallest school in our league has just under 1,000.
“We compete with many schools in our conference that have twice as many, if not three times as many students . . . Participation wise in the Tri-Valley, they have 10 teams, with us added we become the 11th, and we fit with five above us and five below us in terms of population.”
Medway athletic director and Tri-Valley president, Rob Pearl was impressed by Dedham’s presentation.
“When they met with us, it was a very good meeting,” Pearl said. “The principle (Ron McCarthy) and athletic director (Traister) came in, they did a great presentation on why they felt that the Tri-Valley would be a good fit for them and in our conversations afterwards we thought it would help us.
“We are always looking to try to find schools that we can compete with and have that equal competitive advantage. Dedham has some great sports and they have some sports that will be in the middle of the pack with us. It’s not like they’re going to come in here and tear up the league, but I don’t think they are going to come in and get beat up either. It would be a win-win for both of us.”
Pearl also hinted that the league may be looking to add a 12th program to make scheduling easier, but added it would not be a problem to work with 11.
“We could make our schedules work with 11, that’s fine, we’re not worried about that,” Pearl said. “But if we could find a 12th school and balance it out, that would be good too.”Christopher Frangolini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on twitter @bigfrang.