Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy is leaving the Mid-Atlantic Conference to join the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) of Pennsylvania and New Jersey next fall, school Athletic Director Ron Simar said yesterday.

Mercersburg was a charter member when the MAC formed six years ago. But Simar said the main reason for the move was because the MAC features only boys teams; Mercersburg's girls teams were forced to play in the Apple Valley League with public schools located near the Pennsylvania boarding school.

"We were hoping the MAC would go coed, because our girls teams were not in an ideal situation," Simar said. "We figured the move to the MAPL would help both boys and girls teams."

Mercersburg was one of the MAC's most competitive programs. Last year, the Blue Devils won conference titles in basketball, baseball, golf, football and track. They also won the MAC football title this past fall.

"Football-wise, Mercersburg's leaving weakens the league a little bit," Sidwell Friends football coach John Simon said.

Cheeseman Recovering

Georgetown Prep baseball coach Dan Cheeseman is expected to be released from the hospital today after suffering a heart attack on Friday afternoon, according to Prep Athletic Director Dan Paro. Paro said Cheeseman, 48, was "doing well," but was uncertain when Cheeseman would return to teaching math and coaching at the Rockville private school.

"The best part right now is that he is resting with his family," Paro said. "We expect him to have a full recovery. I am sure he is charting his schedule right now to determine when he can return as soon as possible."

Hokies Get Recruit

Richard Johnson of Baltimore's Milford Mill Academy, one of Maryland's most highly recruited high school football players, made an oral commitment to attend Virginia Tech next fall, according to Milford Mill Coach Reggie Brooks.

Johnson, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior, played quarterback and cornerback in high school, but is projected as a wide receiver at Virginia Tech, Brooks said.

Johnson passed for 1,109 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 1,138 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

Meantime, Maryland has received an unofficial commitment from linebacker Jon Condo of Philipsburg, Pa. Condo, a 6-2, 217-pound senior at Osceola High, had a school-record 173 tackles this season. He was named all-Big Eight Conference as a linebacker, fullback and punter in each of the past two seasons. . . .

Gonzaga and St. Albans, two of Northwest Washington's oldest football programs, are scheduled to play next season for the first time since 1979. They also are scheduled to play in 2001. Gonzaga won the last meeting, 16-8, Oct. 12, 1979.

Staff writer Josh Barr contributed to this report.