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Guido: No limits on small-school co-ops

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Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

More small-school sports teams might be combining forces, thanks to a new PIAA rule.

At its recent meeting, the PIAA Board of Directors voted to allow schools to combine sports, even if their school district borders aren't contiguous.

Up to now, if a school didn't have enough athletes to fill a roster in a certain sport, that school would look to a bordering district to form what's called a cooperative.

With the new measure, if a bordering school declines its role in forming a co-op, a school seeking a partner may look toward a nonbordering neighbor.

For example, let's say Apollo-Ridge and Leechburg wanted to combine in a sport.

Because Parks Township separates the two districts, either would have to go with Kiski Area or another bordering district.

Now, if Kiski Area wouldn't be interested in a co-op with either school, Apollo-Ridge and Leechburg could join forces.

With more schools suffering from declining enrollments in this part of the state, a wave of co-ops could happen.

New Armstrong school

Armstrong School District is in the process of choosing a name, mascot and school colors for the combined Kittanning-Ford City high school, which is to open in 2015.

Within the next month, students will vote on a nickname and a color scheme.

Here's my unsolicited entry: call it Fort Armstrong High School.

The name has both geographic and historical value without favoring either Kittanning or Ford City.

One Armstrong school board member said calling it Armstrong High School would shove West Shamokin into a secondary status, much like Youngsville and Sheffield high schools are compared to the much larger Warren Area High School in the Warren County School District north of our area.

The nickname should start with the letter “A” for alliterative and marketing purposes.

Some of the nicknames on the voting list are Renegades, Riverhawks and Vipers — all good names and all unique to the WPIAL.

But I prefer “Admirals.” It starts with an “A” — and the name projects strength and accomplishment.

As for the school colors, the choice is reportedly between orange and blue like the University of Florida or light blue and black like the Carolina Panthers.

Orange and blue also would be unique to the WPIAL and the Alle-Kiski Valley.

No school has worn those colors since the days of the old Arnold High School Lions, though Arnold's was sort of a burnt orange.

The police cars and sidewalk trash receptacles in Arnold still have the orange-and-blue scheme.

Best wishes to the Kittanning and Ford City students who are voting — and let's hope for a last-minute push for Admirals.

WPIAL playoff decorum

The WPIAL has instituted two standards for student fans who attend playoff games: Students must wear shirts, and costumes worn by students can not cover their faces.

The WPIAL doesn't want things to get out of hand with student-rooting sections. Faces can't be covered in the event a person causing problems needs to be identified.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

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