After nearly 90 years of existence in the southern Vermont interscholastic athletic landscape, the Marble Valley League is going to have a name change, and will be expanding to 25 schools for the start of the 2019-20 school year.

In a unanimous vote at the most recent MVL meeting held May 1 at Green Mountain Union High School, the athletic directors of the league voted and approved changing the name to the Southern Vermont League starting this fall.

Joining the league for the 2019-20 season will be former Central Vermont League schools White River Valley, Sharon Academy and Rivendell Academy.

“The Southern Vermont League is a more logistically correct name for our league,” said MVL Executive Director Tim Brown. “With the addition of the three new schools, and the fact that there are only a few schools in the league from the ‘Marble Valley,’ the timing for a change seemed appropriate.”

According to notes from southern Vermont high school sports historian Frank Bioty, the MVL formed in 1930. Schools in the early years included Proctor, Ludlow, Brandon, Poultney, Proctor, Wallingford and Fair Haven. In fact, the winner of the first basketball league title in 1930 was Middlebury.

The larger southern Vermont schools formed the Southern Vermont League in 1940 and at one point included as many as eight schools. But as enrollment numbers dropped at such schools as Bellows Falls, Windsor, Springfield and Hartford, forcing their exodus to the MVL, the decision for the few remaining SVL schools to join the MVL became a necessity. At the same time, the two southern Vermont girls’ leagues — the Central Vermont Girls Athletic League (CVGAL) and the Molly Stark League — joined the MVL as well to form one consolidated boys and girls league.

With the addition of track and field this spring and Ultimate next spring, the MVL will be expanding to 16 combined boys and girls sports (soccer, field hockey, golf, basketball, wrestling, nordic skiing, baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, track and field, and ultimate).

In other news, the Marble Valley League will be honoring five former MVL contributors with Lifetime Achievement Awards at its August preseason dinner meeting at the Rutland Country Club on Aug. 21. Athletic directors Bob Hingston (Windsor) and Kathi Bierwirth (Burr and Burton), cross country coordinator John Dimick, softball assignor Milt Sanderson and the late Bill Flory, who served as the longtime baseball umpire assignor, will all be feted for their service and commitment to the league.

Past honorees are Bob Abrahamson, Dean Houghton, Harry Loyzelle, Charles Memoe, Bob Taylor, Brian Trottier and John Werner.

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