Beginning with the 2021-22 high-school sports season, all three Arlington County public schools will again be members of the same conference.
For that campaign, the Wakefield Warriors will move from the National to the Liberty District, where the Arlington school will join its county rivals Washington-Liberty Generals and Yorktown Patriots. That means the all-Arlington neighborhood rivalries will occur at least once a season, and often twice, in all girls and boys sports.
Boys and girls doubleheader basketball games among the Arlington teams, no matter which venue or night of the week, often draw sellout crowds and generate considerable revenue. With Wakefield coming to the Liberty District, there will be opportunities for more intra-Arlington games.
“I like this. It will be back to normal in Arlington, and that’s great and the way it should be,” Wakefield boys basketball coach Tony Bentley said. “At the end of the day, all of those rivalries should occur every season in every sport. It’s so good for Arlington sports and the community.”
The last time all three schools were in the same athletic league was in 2013-14 as members of the National District. The next year, W-L and Yorktown moved to the Liberty, while Wakefield stayed put in a league that was renamed the Capital Conference for a few years.
After that split, Wakefield then didn’t always play W-L and Yorktown in every sport each year. Prior to that 2013-14 breakup, the three Arlington schools had been in the same district for decades.
Bentley said one of the drawbacks to the move will be not playing the Edison Eagles multiple times a season in boys basketball. That rivalry had become one of the most popular in Northern Virginia in recent years.
The new seven-team Liberty District also will include the Herndon Hornets, Langley Saxons, Marshall Statesmen and McLean Highlanders.
Like Wakefield, Marshall rejoins the Liberty District. The Statesmen had been in the Capital and National districts in the interim.
The new 2021-22 setup does mean fewer Arlington teams will win district championships. During the 2019 football season, Yorktown won the Liberty championship and Wakefield the National. In the new alignment, those teams will compete for the same title.