Laurel's Pallotti High explores joining MIAA

Divisional setup attractive for school's boys teams

April 17, 1999|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Coaches at Pallotti High, a Catholic school in Laurel with about 450 students, are making a strong push to break its nine-year tie with the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and join the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association.

"The coaches for the boys' teams feel that they can compete more evenly with the divisional setup of the MIAA, because it offers more than one division and separate A,B and C conferences -- three competitive levels in most sports," said MIAA executive secretary Rick Diggs, the dean of students at Pallotti.

"But the administration is concerned about Pallotti's affiliation with the Washington Archdiocese, which is all the Catholic schools and churches in the Washington area," he said. "The majority of the students come from those areas."

Diggs said the girls' teams at Pallotti "are more competitive" in the WCAC than the boys, having won two straight volleyball titles and one softball title. The girls "would either remain in the WCAC or possibly join the new girls leagues in Baltimore."

Pallotti's boys have won no league titles since joining the WCAC. The school has the smallest enrollment -- about 225 boys and 225 girls -- in the 10-member conference, which boasts perennial powers DeMatha in Hyattsville, Gonzaga in Washington and Good Counsel in Wheaton. The Panthers boys have been most successful in basketball, being runners-up in the 1997-98 WCAC title game, losing in overtime to DeMatha, a national power. They shared the division crown with DeMatha the season before.

But Panthers coach Mike Glick, whose teams were 122-59 over six seasons, resigned on Wednesday. Some of Glick's players are expected to transfer.

Diggs said the school's football team annually schedules "about six opponents" from the MIAA's A and B conferences and that the baseball team "has at least eight games scheduled."

In 1996-97, Pallotti tried unsuccessfully to enter the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association small-school state playoffs -- without being bound by a public school regular-season schedule -- solely for the opportunity to play on what was considered a more appropriate level of competition.

Although Pallotti is in Prince George's County, considered part of the Washington metro area, precedent exists for the MIAA accepting non-Baltimore area members. St. Maria Goretti, in Hagerstown, competes in the MIAA's boys basketball league.

Pub Date: 4/17/99

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