ROMNEY, W.Va. — Hampshire High School has become the second school to announce its intentions to leave the Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference, joining Frankfort, which announced its decision on Feb. 6, citing the school’s desire to compete more against teams in its West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission region, Region II, Class AA.
Hampshire, a Region II, Class AAA school in West Virginia, will now become an independent, determined by a “close vote” of the school’s coaches, according to the school’s athletic director, Erino Leone, to afford various sports more flexibility in its schedule-making.
According to Leone, “Our principal, Mrs. Candy Canan, was approached by some coaches who wanted to discuss our standing with the AMAC. A couple of them wanted to have an independent schedule, with the basketball teams and baseball wanting a little bit more flexibility.
“A couple of coaches wanted a meeting, so Mrs. Canan called a meeting and provided three options: become independent, join the PVC with the teams in the panhandle, or stay in the AMAC. In a very close vote, the coaches chose to go independent.”
The Times-News has learned six coaches voted to leave the AMAC to become independent, five voted to stay in the AMAC and two voted to join the Potomac Valley Conference.
“I have emailed all of the (athletic directors) in the AMAC and told them of the vote,” Leone said Monday afternoon. “Right now I’m waiting to see if the fall (2013) schedules will be played. We’re scheduled all the way up to basketball. If they drop us, I understand. If they want to play us to baseball, I understand.
“I hope the Maryland schools will play us in the fall.”
Frankfort will leave the AMAC following the 2013 fall sports seasons.
The Hampshire boys and girls cross country teams won the AMAC team championships last fall.
The AMAC was formed in May of 2006 and began play in the fall of 2007 with Allegany, Fort Hill, Frankfort, Hampshire, Keyser, Mountain Ridge, Northern Garrett and Southern Garrett high schools the charter members.
Bishop Walsh has since joined the conference, which was formed to create competition between area schools and to serve as a boost to the schools’ travel budgets. Tom Woods, the original AMAC president, said in 2006 the longstanding wish to have an area football league also played a prominent role in the formation of the league. The AMAC, however, has not been a football league in four years.
Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at email@example.com