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Not a AAAA venue
February 21, 2008 - Neil Rudel
I took in Wednesday night's District 6 Class AAAA final between Altoona and State College.
It was a great game -- one surely worthy of a better venue than the Tyrone Area Middle School gym.
Nothing against the gym. It's new, bright and boasts a regulation floor.
But the place seats only 1100. There were at least 100 people standing in the doorways and upstairs in a hallway overlooking the court.
District 6 basketball chairman Ray Witkowski said the decision was made to play at Tyrone Middle School over Tyrone Area High School because of the new floor and better lighting, even though the high school seats 1500.
The decision, from this view, was wrong.
It's not like the high school is antiquated. The Tyrone teams continue to play there. Had, say, the Hollidaysburg or Central Mountain girls played the first game, perhaps the selected venue would have accommodated the interest since some may have left before the boys game. But with an Altoona-SC doubleheader, the Middle School was undersized, let alone hotter than some saunas.
St. Francis was unavailable; perhaps its basketball teams are practicing around the clock because they sure need it. Mount Aloysius was not considered.
Here's a vote to explore Juniata College the next time. It seats more than 1500 and its floor was refurbished a couple of years ago.
Either way, the district's biggest two schools and their fans deserved better than a middle school gym.