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North Huntingdon residents establish east suburbs sports league

| Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

A group of North Huntingdon residents hope to give adults an opportunity to play competitive sports this winter.

North Huntingdon residents Sheli Bungard; her husband, Luke Bungard; and sister, Jeanna Rayman, founded the East Suburban Sports League over the summer in the hope of bringing adult intramural sports to western Westmoreland County.

They plan to kick off the league with a coed basketball league at Norwin Middle School on Nov. 11.

Their goal is to give adults, ages 18 and older, an opportunity to play competitive sports in an intramural league without having to travel to Pittsburgh.

“We were sick of always driving into the city to play sports,” Sheli Bungard said. “There were a couple ways to play out here, but it's always just a pickup game or open gyms, so you never know how many people, if anyone, would ever show up.”

Luke Bungard said he, his wife and Rayman participate in several intramural sports leagues, including flag football and softball, and would drive to the city several times a week to play. Depending on events in Pittsburgh, such as concerts, sporting events or construction, traffic made the trips time-consuming and a hassle, he said.

He said an adult sports league seemed like it would be an obvious hit.

“We know lots of people who enjoy sports and being active,” Luke Bungard said. “Having something out here makes it easier and more convenient for people to get involved.”

Sheli Bungard said the league currently has three basketball teams registered for the winter season, but organizers hope to end up with five.

The group plans to charge $45 per player, or $450 for a team of 12, to participate in the basketball league. The fees cover the cost of renting the gymnasium, team shirts, and hiring referees throughout the season.

Although the organization plans to start by focusing on a winter basketball league, Luke Bungard said, there are plans to offer several different sports, such as soccer, softball and flag football.

“We're also trying to think outside of the box and offer things nobody else has, like ultimate Frisbee,” Luke said. “We just want to have games where we can get a lot of people involved and that's competitive and fun.”

The last day to register for the East Suburban Sports League's winter basketball season is Nov. 8. Registration is available online at www.eastsuburbansportsleague.com.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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