Lehigh Valley Conference

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The Lehigh Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference (known informally as the Lehigh Valley Conference, or LVC) is an athletic conference consisting of the 12 largest high schools from Lehigh and Northampton counties in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is part of District XI of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

History[edit]

Founded on November 14, 2001, the newly formed Lehigh Valley Conference (LVC) rejoined most of the 12 schools that formerly competed in the East Penn Conference at various times from 1976 to 1997, before five schools left in 1997 to join the Mountain Valley Conference (MVC).[1][2] (Phillipsburg High School had previously left the East Penn Conference in 1994 to join the Skyland Conference in New Jersey to be eligible for NJISAA football playoffs; Northampton Area High School had joined the MVC for the 1994-95 school year.) Eleven of these schools reunited to form the LVC, along with Nazareth Area High School who had previously competed in the Colonial League before moving to the MVC in 1994. One more former East Penn Conference school, Bethlehem Catholic High School, was admitted to the new conference in February 2002.[3] Conference play began with the 2002-03 school year.[4]

In 2012, the two Allentown public high schools, William Allen and Dieruff, decided to join the MVC as associate members for football only. Then on Oct. 2, 2013, the LVC voted to invite six Monroe County high schools: Stroudsburg Area High School of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, East Stroudsburg Area North and South of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Pocono Mountain East and West of Swiftwater, Pennsylvania and Pleasant Valley Area High School of Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania. The remaining MVC school, Lehighton Area High School, had already announced in 2012 they would join another athletic conference.[5][6]

Records[edit]

Among Lehigh Valley Conference schools, Emmaus High School holds the record for most Pennsylvania state championships in all sports since the league's creation. Parkland High School holds the record for the most conference championships in all sports.[7]

Television coverage[edit]

Lehigh Valley Conference football, boys and girls basketball games and wrestling matches are broadcast during the respective seasons on Service Electric's Channel 2 in the Lehigh Valley and other broadcast markets. RCN 4, another local television station, also broadcasts the Lehigh Valley Conference's football, basketball and wrestling events.

Service Electric also broadcasts a weekly "Plays of the Week" segment, sponsored by Yocco's Hot Dogs, which features the best football, basketball, wrestling and other Lehigh Valley Conference sports highlights of the week.

Sports[edit]

Lehigh Valley Conference football[edit]

Lehigh Valley Conference football teams routinely have ranked highly in the state and nationally in USA Today's annual ranking of the nation's top high school sports teams. In 2008, Liberty High School won the AAAA-level Pennsylvania state football championship, was ranked second in the Eastern United States and 20th among all high schools nationally. In 2002, Parkland High School won the AAAA-level Pennsylvania state football championship, was ranked fifth in the East and 11th among all high schools nationally.[8] In 2007, Parkland High School also appeared in the AAAA-level Pennsylvania state football championship finals (losing to Pittsburgh Central Catholic). In 2008, Liberty High School won the AAAA-level state football championship to Bethel Park. Liberty also appeared in the AAAA state final in 2005 and 2006, but lost. In 2010, Allentown Central Catholic High School won the AAA-level Pennsylvania state football championship, and was ranked fifth in the Eastern United States.[9] They were also ranked in the top 50 nationally, according to maxpreps.com.

High schools currently in the LVC were dominant in local football prior to the conference's formation.[10] Bethlehem Catholic High School won state championships in 1988 (at the AA level) and 1990 (at the AAA level). Allentown Central Catholic High School won the AAA-class state title in 1993, 1998, and 2010. For 1993 they were ranked 10th among all high schools nationally.[11][12]

The conference also has been particularly successful in generating extremely successful collegiate and NFL football talent. As of the 2008-2009 NFL season, four Lehigh Valley Conference alumni--Dan Koppen of the New England Patriots, Tim Massaquoi of the Buffalo Bills, Jim Molinaro of the Dallas Cowboys, and Tony Stewart of the Oakland Raiders—were on NFL rosters.

To date, 18 alumni of Lehigh Valley Conference schools have gone on to play in the NFL, and one of them, Chuck Bednarik from Bethlehem (now Liberty) High School, was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the top honor afforded an NFL player, following his 1961 retirement from the Philadelphia Eagles.

In 2012, Allentown public schools Allen and Dieruff left the Lehigh Valley Conference to join the Mountain Valley Conference because they struggled against LVC powerhouse football programs.

Lehigh Valley Conference girls field hockey[edit]

The Lehigh Valley Conference is recognized nationally as one of the premier leagues in the nation for girls field hockey. In 2010, the national sports web site, topofthecircle.com, ranked the Lehigh Valley Conference's Emmaus High School as the best girls field hockey team in the nation for the third time in the program's history. Since its inception, close to 200 members of the Emmaus High School girls field hockey team have gone on to compete on the collegiate level. Emmaus High School has won the Pennsylvania state championship in girls field hockey 10 times and won the District XI title in 22 consecutive seasons, as of 2010.[13]

Lehigh Valley Conference wrestling[edit]

The Lehigh Valley Conference is also recognized nationally for its hugely successful wrestling programs, which are widely considered among the most competitive and elite in the nation. Easton Area High School, Nazareth Area High School, Northampton Area High School, and other Lehigh Valley Conference high schools are usually national powerhouses and each competes at prestigious national tournaments. Lehigh Valley Conference wrestling matches, especially those between rival Lehigh Valley Conference high schools, are among the Lehigh Valley's most popular athletic events, often selling out large indoor high school arenas with thousands of spectators. LVC schools have won numerous PIAA state individual wrestling championships and six team championships, including three straight 2A team titles for Bethlehem Catholic from 2010-11 through 2012-13.[14]

A sign of its national stature, at one time in the early 2000s, the National High School Coaches Association had Easton Area High School, Nazareth Area High School and Northampton High School all ranked in their "National Top 25" rankings simultaneously. Individual wrestlers from Lehigh Valley Conference schools are often a fixture in national rankings, and collegiate wrestling scouts from around the nation recruit heavily among Lehigh Valley Conference wrestling teams. Division I collegiate wrestling is filled with wrestlers from the Lehigh Valley Conference, and the U.S. Olympic wrestling team also has often included wrestlers from the conference. Many Lehigh Valley Conference alumni have gone on to compete in college wrestling. One alumnus, Bobby Weaver from Easton High School, went on to win the gold medal in wrestling at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Lehigh Valley Conference high school wrestling is televised locally on Service Electric, WLVT-TV and other radio and television stations.

High schools[edit]

The 12 high school teams in the Lehigh Valley Conference (and their locations) are:

Former member of the East Penn Conference (predecessor to the Lehigh Valley Conference):

Dieruff High School and William Allen High School compete in all sports except (beginning with the 2012 season) football, for which they compete in the smaller Mountain Valley Conference.

In 2013, the Lehigh Valley Conference invited the six Monroe County members of the Mountain Valley Conference to join the LVC. The schools are expected to accept the invitation and form an 18-school conference that will begin play in the 2014-15 school year.[15]

Lehigh Valley Conference professional and Olympic athletes[edit]

, [[Liberty High School (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)}Liberty High School]]]]

Current and former professional and Olympic athletes who played high school athletics at the schools currently comprising the Lehigh Valley Conference include:

Major League Baseball (MLB)[edit]

Current MLB players[edit]

Former MLB players[edit]

National Basketball Association (NBA)[edit]

Current NBA players[edit]

Former NBA players[edit]

National Football League (NFL)[edit]

Current NFL players[edit]

Former NFL players[edit]

Olympics[edit]

Olympic cycling[edit]

Olympic field hockey[edit]

Olympic wrestling[edit]

Professional auto racing[edit]

Professional cycling[edit]

Professional soccer[edit]

Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)[edit]

Former WNBA players[edit]

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)[edit]

Lehigh Valley Conference professional and collegiate coaches[edit]

Lehigh Valley Conference athletes who have gone on to athletic coaching and team management careers include:

College basketball coaches[edit]

College football coaches[edit]

National Basketball Association (NBA) coaches[edit]

National Football League (NFL) coaches and management[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FLASHBACK: In '01, LVC was formed — minus Bethlehem Catholic". The Morning Call. 2011-11-14. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  2. ^ "Time line leading to formation of Lehigh Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference". The Morning Call. 2001-11-15. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  3. ^ Groller, Keith (2002-02-14). "Lehigh Valley sports league lets Becahi in the game". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  4. ^ Fox, John Jay (2001-12-22). "LVC may suit up in 2002". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  5. ^ http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/10/lehigh_valley_conferences_addi.html#incart_m-rpt-1
  6. ^ Boyer, Leroy (2012-02-11). "Schuylkill League officials approve addition of Lehighton to league ranks Indian welcome". standardspeaker.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  7. ^ "District Titles," LVIAC.net.
  8. ^ "Super 25 prep football regional rankings". USA Today. 2008-12-22. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  9. ^ "USA Today Super 25 regional rankings". USA Today. 2010-12-20. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  10. ^ "Groller's Corner: List of East Penn Conference football champs, 1976-2001, and more". The Morning Call. 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2010-11-18. 
  11. ^ "PIAA Football Championships (1988-2009): Champions /Appearances". Retrieved 2010-11-18. 
  12. ^ "High School Football Database: USA Today Super 25 (1990-1999)". High School Football Database. Retrieved 2010-11-18. 
  13. ^ "Sportspersons of the Year: Emmaus' Butz-Stavin in a class by herself," The Morning Call, December 31, 2010..
  14. ^ Bailey, Christopher (9 February 2013). "Bethlehem Catholic wrestling team claims third straight state title". The Express-Times. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  15. ^ http://www.mcall.com/sports/mc-lvc-mvc-league-merger-20130815,0,2372001.story