With the addition of several teams to the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference primarily with teams from the former Mountain Conference, the LHAC has announced its sections for all the sports in which the conference participates.

The new teams are coming into the league for the 2023-24 season and the sectional breakdown will be in effect for at least two years.

“The member schools of the LHAC had a goal of playing most of the schedules regionally to keep rivalries and minimize travel, while allowing some crossover to incorporate games against as many teams as possible in the league,” said Somerset High School Athletic Director and LHAC Director. “I think the group did an excellent job of balancing the two objectives. The amount of cooperation and sharing of ideas that occurred during this process makes me extremely excited over the future of the expanded league.”

The good news for local sports fans is that Bedford and Chestnut Ridge are in the same section for the sports in which they participate.

The two county schools will not play each other in football this season, but the new sections will be in effect for the following season, allowing them to play against each other for at least those two years.

The system gets a little complicated and cumbersome, and the sections change from sport to sport. There are four sections for football, three for track and field, cross country, golf, and wrestling, and two for all the other sports.

Some of the sports have 22 teams (basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball), while football and soccer has 20 teams, and the others vary in numbers.

Here is the look at each of the sports and the sections (See charts to see sections for each sport):

Football (20 Teams)

There are four divisions (West 1, West 2, East 1, East 2) with five teams in each section. Bedford and Chestnut Ridge are in West 2 along with Penn Cambria, Central Cambria, and Forest Hills.

In scheduling, a team will play the other four teams in its division, three against the other geographic section, and one game against a team from each of the opposite geographic section. Ridge and Bedford will play the four teams from their section, three teams from West 1, one team from East 1, and one team from East 2.

After the ninth game, the teams will be ranked by geographic regions from 1 to 10. The 10th game will be against a corresponding team (i.e. #4 in East vs. #4 West) unless the teams had already played that season.

The championship will be in the 10th week between the top team from each geographic region, even if they had already played each other.

Basketball (22 Teams)

There are two divisions (East and West) with 11 teams each section. Bedford and Ridge are in the West along with Somerset, Westmont Hilltop, Richland, Greater Johnstown, Bishop McCort, Penn Cambria, Central Cambria, Forest Hills, and Bishop Carroll.

In scheduling, a team will play 14 games within the section (each team one time and four of those teams twice). There will be four crossover games between sections that will be boys/girls doubleheaders with no JV games and will be played on Friday or Saturday.

There will be openings for four non-league games.

For the championship, the top two teams in each section will make the semifinals.

The junior high will play only the 14 games within the section.

Volleyball (22 Teams)

The divisions are the same as basketball.

In scheduling, a team will play 12 games within the section (each team one time and two teams twice). There will be four crossover games between sections.

There will be openings for six non-league games.

For the championship, the top two teams in each section will make the semifinals.

Baseball/Softball

(22 Teams)

The divisions are the same as basketball.

In scheduling, a team will play 12 games within the section (each team one time and two teams twice). There will be four crossover games between sections.

There will be openings for four non-league games.

There will be no championship game, only a champion in each section, which is determined by regular season play.

Soccer (20 Teams)

The divisions are the same as basketball, except Bishop McCort does not have soccer.

In scheduling, a team will play 12 games within the section (each team one time and three teams twice). There will be four crossover games between sections, which will be varsity only boys/girls doubleheaders.

There will be openings for two non-league games.

For the championship, the top team in each section will play for the title.

Girls Tennis (14 Teams)

There are two divisions (East and West) with 7 teams each section. Bedford and Ridge are in the West along with Somerset, Westmont Hilltop, Richland, Bishop McCort, and Forest Hills.

In scheduling, a team will play each team in the section twice for 12 games, which leaves openings for four non-league games.

For the championship, the top two teams in each section will make the semifinals with East 1 vs. West 2, and West 1 vs. East 2.

For the schools not making the championship, there will be two crossover games to be determined.

Boys Tennis (10 Teams)

There are two divisions (East and West) with 5 teams each section. Bedford is in the West along with Somerset, Westmont Hilltop, Richland, and Bishop McCort.

In scheduling, teams will play 13 games including two against the teams in your section and one game against each team in the other section, leaving room for five non-league matches.

For the championship, the top two teams in each section will make the semifinals with East 1 vs. West 2, and West 1 vs. East 2.

Wrestling (20 Teams)

There are three sections (Section 1, Section 2, and Section 3) with Section 3 having six teams and others with seven teams.

Bedford and Ridge are in Section 2 along with Hollidaysburg, Penn Cambria, Central, Tyrone, and Bellwood-Antis.

In scheduling, there will be only dual meets against each team in the section with each section having a champion based on the dual meet results.

There will be an individual tournament, which will determine the LHAC Team Champion. The LHAC will ask for approval from the PIAA so that the tournament will not count against participation points. The LHAC is looking to have the tournament on the Friday and Saturday of the weekend after school starts up from the winter break.

Track and Field

(22 Teams)

There are three sections (Section 1, Section 2, and Section 3) with Section 3 having eight teams and others with seven teams.

Bedford and Ridge are in Section 1 along with Somerset, Westmont Hilltop, Richland, Greater Johnstown, and Bishop McCort.

In scheduling, a team runs against all the teams in its section in tri/quad meets, and there are two crossover meets that are tri-meets with a team from each section. A section champion will be named based on the results of the regular season.

There will a track and field championship at the end of the season in which team and individual champions will be crowned.

Cross Country

(19 Teams)

There are three sections (Section 1, Section 2, and Section 3) with Section 3 having seven teams and others with six teams.

Bedford and Ridge are in Section 1 along with Somerset, Westmont Hilltop, Richland, and Bishop McCort.

In scheduling, a team runs against all the teams in its section in tri/quad meets, and there are two crossover meets that are tri-meets with a team from each section. A section champion will be named based on the results of the regular season.

There will at cross country championship at the end of the season in which team and individual champions will be crowned.

Golf (21 Teams)

There are three sections (Section 1, Section 2, and Section 3) with each section having seven teams.

Bedford and Ridge are in Section 1 along with Somerset, Westmont Hilltop, Richland, Forest Hills, and Bishop McCort.

The matches will be 18 holes, and all the teams in the section will play at the same course on the same day (4 matches).

There will be one crossover match with teams from each section (7 teams per match).

There will at golf championship at the end of the season in which team and individual champions will be crowned.

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There were also changes to the teams in the Inter-County Conference, which will take effect in the 2023-24 season. However, those changes in sections and scheduling have not been announced.

Those changes would affect four teams from the Bedford Gazette coverage area: Claysburg-Kimmel, Everett, Northern Bedford, and Tussey Mountain.

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