York, PA -
The spontaneous applause that broke out as the voting concluded during Monday's meeting of YAIAA athletic directors and principals told the story.
The league is happy to add Gettysburg, which will leave the Mid-Penn conference and join the YAIAA as its 23rd team, starting with the 2014-15 academic/athletic season.
Based on the school's enrollment, the Warriors compete at the Class AAA level in nearly every sport across both genders.
"It's nice to get a solid AAA school," said South Western athletic director Don Seidenstricker, who as Mustangs football coach started a non-league, season-opening rivalry with Gettysburg. "This makes York and Adams counties complete, with the exceptions of Northern York and Red Land."
Certainly, Northern would be an intriguing fit to become the YAIAA's 24th school, but at this point it would be deemed a long shot for the Polar Bears to leave the Mid-Penn.
As a part of Cumberland County's West Shore School District, Red Land would be even less likely to switch athletic conferences.
However, additional expansion isn't important right now. Monday was an important, if not historic day, for most everyone involved with the YAIAA.
Voting the Warriors in was an easy -- and right -- decision for most.
And if the applause didn't prove how much those around the YAIAA wanted to add Gettysburg, the 21-1 voting result likely did.
Former YAIAA executive director Herb Schmidt was happy after the meeting adjourned. Still involved with the league in many capacities, Schmidt has been hoping to get Gettysburg to join for years, especially after it nearly happened in 1999.
"I really feel better. I am pleased with how the vote went," he said. "(Gettysburg) is very happy to be coming in. They have looked forward to this, the same as me."
Budgetary concerns were a significant reason the Gettysburg Area School District voted 7-0 last week to petition to join the YAIAA.
Of course, similar travel budget concerns might have caused Monday's only "no" vote, which came from Kennard-Dale -- something many from other league schools understand.
Located in extreme southeastern York County, any league expansion would likely impact Kennard-Dale's athletic budget. After all, Fawn Grove isn't close to many league schools as it is.
"I understand Kennard-Dale's vote. It wasn't really a no vote on Gettysburg as it was the potential travel issues," Schmidt said.
New Oxford athletic director Ken Shafer said that although he could also empathize with Kennard-Dale's predicament, for the Colonials, adding a league school a mere 10 miles away is a great thing.
"We already play them (non-league) in a lot of sports because they are close," Shafer said. "It's a no-brainer on our part."
YAIAA executive director George Shue is another person happy to be bringing Gettysburg into the mix in what will be the league's third expansion in 21 years.
Shue was football and track coach at Littlestown and faced the Warriors regularly during the days of the Blue Mountain League.
When the that league folded in 1993, Littlestown, Delone Catholic and New Oxford joined the YAIAA, while Gettysburg, Bermudian Springs, Biglerville and Fairfield joined the Mid-Penn.
In 2004, Bermudian, Biglerville and Fairfield joined the YAIAA, leaving the Warriors as the only Adams County school still in the Mid-Penn -- until 2014-15, thanks to Monday's vote.
And the YAIAA will be better for it.
Steve Navaroli is a sports reporter for the Daily Record/Sunday News. Reach him at 771-2060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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