Bridgeton's application to join the Tri-County Conference for all sports was voted down last week.

A two-thirds majority of the conference's schools was needed, but they voted by just 10-9 in favor of accepting Bridgeton.

The school will remain a member of the Cape-Atlantic League, which never had to vote to release Bridgeton.

All Bridgeton had done was give the Cape notice that it was applying to the Trico. Had the Trico voted Bridgeton in, it would have officially resigned from the Cape.

"Had we left the Cape, it wouldn't have been until [the fall of] 2010," athletic director Joe Blandino said. "So, technically, we have never left the Cape."

The NJSIAA offers a school turned down in joining a conference the chance to appeal. Blandino said Bridgeton would not do so.

In seeking the change, Blanton said the biggest concern was travel.

"We are the farthest school west of the Cape," he said. "With the way traffic is, there are some schools that take an hour and a half to get to."

He said the Trico also appealed to him because of the school's football situation. Bridgeton now has to find two nonleague regular-season games in the sport.

"Every year, we go crazy finding those other two games," he said. "It's tough, especially when I have Cumberland down the street."

Cumberland is a former rival of Bridgeton's. In the fall of 2000, Cumberland left the Cape for the Trico.

In the summer, the Cape voted down a football merger with the Trico.

It likely won't be the last time potential mergers will be discussed among conferences in South Jersey. Clearview athletic director Greg Horton summed it up best when talking about potential mergers.

"We are looking at all options," Horton said.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com.