By now you may have heard that Altoona has been granted acceptance back into the Mid-Penn Conference for 2018 for Football as well as a few other sports. I won't bore you by rehashing the details, you can read the story Penn Live has put out - here.
The Wizard wanted to discuss one of the main gripes about having Altoona rejoin the Mid-Penn and that is the distance of travel, as the Altoona area is a bit removed from the general Harrisburg area where most of the Mid-Penn resides.
The Wizard did some Google Mapping and the travel distance is certainly a concern. Right now most of the teams in the Commonwealth have an average travel distance of approximately 40 - 45 minutes for their Divisional Games, with the outliers being Chambersburg which has an average trip time of just over an hour and State College which travels an average of about an hour and 45 minutes for its away games.
With the addition of Altoona to the Commonwealth Division, the trip to Altoona will be the longest away trip for each of the Commonwealth Schools except for State College and Chambersburg who's match-up against each other is their longest trip.
Here is a breakdown of the trip length to Altoona for each school in the Commonwealth Division -
State College - 51 minutes
Chambersburg - 1 hour 49 minutes
Carlisle - 2 hours 3 minutes
Cumberland Valley 2 hours 4 minutes
Harrisburg - 2 hours 14 minutes
CD East - 2 hours 16 minutes
And the winner for longest trip to Altoona - Central Dauphin 2 hours 19 minutes
These obviously aren't short trips to be made in most cases. And there will certainly be times during different seasons where weather might become a concern. But from experience, The Wizard can say those long road trips can sometimes be some of the fondest memories for high schoolers.
Also with an average away trip time of 45 minutes for most teams, adding an additional road trip, while not always the most ideal, should be looked at in a more positive light.
Also, if any team should be concerned about trip length it should be Altoona, they will have an average road trip now of almost 2 hours. So when Harrisburg & CD East are making their long commute to play each other -
Just think of what Altoona has to do every other week to be a part of the Mid-Penn. It isn't a once a year trip, its an every away game type of thing...........