Overbrook High School was admitted into the Colonial Conference by an 8-3 vote of superintendents yesterday at Sterling.
At least eight votes were needed for Overbrook to be added to the 11-team conference.
The move will become effective in the 2008-09 school year, said Lindenwold athletic director Derryk Sellers, who serves as the Colonial president.
The addition of Overbrook will give the Colonial 12 schools, and Sellers said the conference would be divided into two divisions in sports that have at least five teams per division.
Currently, only some of the Colonial sports have two divisions. The new format will have a two-division setup for most sports. (Golf and swimming are among the exceptions.)
"It's exciting," Sellers said. "It'll bring more equity to the conference."
The conference will re-align for 2008-09, based on enrollment figures of current ninth through 11th graders, Sellers said.
Overbrook, a Group 2 school that currently competes in the Tri-County Conference, will be placed in the Colonial's big-school Liberty Division, while Haddon Township will drop into the small-school Patriot Division, Sellers said.
Here is how the divisions will look for 2008-09:
West Deptford, Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Collingswood, Sterling and Overbrook.
Paulsboro, Woodbury, Audubon, Lindenwold, Gateway and Haddon Township.
Overbrook's departure will coincide with Wildwood rejoining the Tri-County Conference for football in 2008. Wildwood had been playing an independent schedule the last two years.
Wildwood will be placed in the small-school Classic Division for football, and Woodstown will move into the Royal, according to Christine Dziczek, Highland athletic director and Tri-County president.
Dziczek said she was "sorry to see Overbrook leave. But I understand their needs because there are very few Group 2s in our conference."
Overbrook's move leaves Highland without a Thanksgiving game. The nearby rivals had been Turkey Day opponents.
Late in 2001, the Colonial rejected Overbrook's application, citing its large enrollment as the main reason. At the time, Overbrook was in Group 3 with an enrollment of 872. In recent years, Overbrook has had a decline in enrollment, primarily because of the opening of Lindenwold in 2001.
Overbrook has a current enrollment of 695 students in grades 10-12.
"They're a great fit," Sellers said.
Besides being Lindenwold's athletic director, Sellers is the school's football coach. He said Lindenwold will face Overbrook in football on Thanksgiving.
"It'll be our first Thanksgiving Day in six years. This game was six years in the making. It's a natural rivalry," said Sellers, noting that Lindenwold students used to attend Overbrook and that "a lot of our kids' parents went to Overbrook."
In next year's format, basketball teams will face division rivals twice, and will play one game against each team in the other division, Sellers said. Currently, basketball teams are not divided into two divisions, and teams play each other twice.