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Thursday, May 19, 2011
DCL putting expansion plans on hold

By Brendan Hall

The Dual County League is going to hold off on plans to expand the league from 10 to as many as 14 teams, Concord-Carlisle athletic director Barry Haley confirmed this afternoon.

Monday afternoon, Westford Academy principal Jim Antonelli said that three Merrimack Valley Conference schools -- Billerica, Chelmsford and Tewksbury -- as well as North Andover from the Cape Ann League, had been invited to meet with league officials next Monday morning at Acton-Boxborough High School about possibly joining. Fifteen schools reportedly applied, including nine from the MVC (Haverhill was the lone school to refrain, instead applying for admission to the CAL).

The DCL will drop from 12 schools to 10 in the fall, when Arlington officially becomes a member of the Middlesex League and Tyngsborough of Mid-Wach C in the Central Mass district.

"We've had conversations with the schools, and there's probably issues regarding whether they would accept an invitation," Haley said. "Instead of wasting everybody's time, we're not going to try to do something fairly quickly that will end up causing a lot more complications."

Haley confirmed that the principals and athletic directors will still meet on Monday.

(Updated, 3 p.m.) Editor's note: Antonellis later confirmed that while Billerica, Chelmsford and Tewksbury have withdrawn their applications, North Andover will wait to hear of any change of plans from the DCL.