TENNERTON – The Mid-8 Conference, home to the Buckhannon-Upshur Little Bucs, will look a little different next season with two members recently deciding to leave the conference.
In a pair of decisions based around football, both Bridgeport and South Harrison are leaving the Mid-8 Conference.
South Harrison was the first to leave the conference as the only school that feeds into a Class A high school, as the rest of the conference feeds into either Class AAA or AA schools. They will join the Little Kanawha Conference that will mirror their varsity football team and schedule.
Bridgeport will join a new league, the North Central-7, that will include West Fairmont, East Fairmont, North Marion, Preston, Morgantown (South and Suncrest combined) and University (Westwood and Mountaineer combined).
“Bridgeport felt there weren’t many competitive games for them in the Mid-8 other than us year-in and year-out,” explained Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School head coach Dave Chipps. “Plus, their head coach is a Monongalia County guy. I don’t see it as a step up personally. As for South Harrison, they said they felt they could no longer compete at this level.”
Chipps, one of the founders of the Mid-8 Conference which began in 2005, said it will be hard to see a pair of original members of the conference leave.
“It has been a good thing for all eight of the teams over the years,” noted Chipps. “I wish Bridgeport and South Harrison the best and good luck.”
It didn’t take long for the conference to find replacements for the two schools as Elkins Middle and Philippi Middle are set to join next summer.
“Both teams have wanted in for a while and they are close with many scheduling ties already and it just makes sense geographically” stated Chipps. “It will allow them to have the possibility now of a ninth game as well. The addition of those two schools will give us the opportunity to make the Mid-8 an all-sports conference, which is something we have always wanted. Plus, our high school has both Elkins and Philip Barbour on their current schedule.”
Chipps said that B-UMS never gave any real consideration to joining the new North Central-7 Conference despite an invitation.
“We are committed to the Mid-8,” commented Chipps. “The North Central-7 is going to be a coach-ran conference, unlike us, and I have seen that not work so well in the past.”
Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School athletic director Deborah Shapiro added about remaining in the Mid-8, “We are a flagship member of the conference and we are a good fit in the Mid-8. We are exactly where we need to be.”
The new Mid-8 Conference will now feature Buckhannon-Upshur, Elkins, Lincoln, Mountaineer (Clarksburg), Philippi, Robert L. Bland, Taylor County and Washington Irving.