Citizen Staff Writer
How interesting will it be if the same year the Salpointe Catholic High School football team finally wins the Class 5A Division I football championship, the school decides to stop appealing to the Arizona Interscholastic Association to compete at that level?
It should happen. Southern Arizona schools and fans might be better served if there were no 5A-I regions in the area and more competition at the 5A-II level.
With Wednesday’s calendar flip from September to October, the AIA’s biannual reclassification process began with most of the state’s schools presenting their current enrollment figures, which will determine the level of competition each school’s athletic teams will face for the next two school years.
Here’s a dumbed-down explanation of what the AIA bylaws state:
• Any school with an enrollment of 1,200 or more is either a 4A or 5A school.
• Any school can appeal to the AIA to play up or play down in classification.
• The number of schools exceeding the 1,200 enrollment figure, and any school successfully appealing up into that range, are divided evenly in four groups: 5A Division I, 5A-II, 4A-I and 4A-II.
There are 26 schools competing in the five 4A/5A regions based in southern Arizona. And you can bet there will be some shake-up over the next month or so involving those teams.
My suggestion is to not have any of the southern Arizona teams in 5A-I, and to create one large or two equal 5A-II regions.
Currently there are four schools – Salpointe, Casa Grande, Sierra Vista Buena and Tucson High – competing in the 5A Southern-I Region, southern Arizona’s only 5A-I region.
Salpointe’s reported enrollment of 1,191 actually could make it a 3A school, but it appeals up every two years to compete at the state’s highest level.
Casa Grande, with one of the state’s largest enrollments of 3,320 students, could easily go back to a Phoenix-based region, as was the case two years ago.
That would leave Buena (no enrollment figures yet reported to the AIA) and Tucson High (2,974 enrollment) as the only two true 5A-I schools.
According to AIA bylaws, there are several criteria used in determining a school’s appeal up or down in classification, and Buena and Tucson High both could appeal down based primarily on two of them:
• (188.8.131.52.4) Geography/loss of school time.
• (184.108.40.206.6) Competitive history over last four (four) school years in all sports, at all levels.
In both cases, Buena and Tucson High would have a good case for being allowed to compete in a 5A-II region.
Looking at the enrollment figures of the four southern Arizona teams competing at the 5A-II level, none appears to have dropped enough to move down to the 4A level and several area 4A schools have enrollment numbers approaching the 2,000 mark that could justify being in 5A-II.
So while it’s admirable of Salpointe to appeal up to the toughest level of competition each year, it should do itself and its student-athletes a favor and tone it down just one level and possibly give area fans a competitive 5A-II region rather than a small four-team 5A-I region and a small four-team 5A-II region.
Will it happen?
Probably not, but it makes sense to me.
Sabino staying put
One school that will likely be appealing its way up to stay in the 4A-I ranks is Sabino.
The school’s enrollment of 1,374 is actually lower than several schools competing in 4A-II.
Athletic director John Kramkowski told me Thursday that while he has yet to talk with all his coaches, he doesn’t expect them to disagree with staying in 4A-I.
In an e-mail, Kramkowski said it’s “more an issue of what level we should be competing at and not what our enrollment says.”
Santa Rita to play the best
The Santa Rita boys basketball teams will compete in December’s Good Counsel Tip-Off Classic in Olney, Md.
The tournament will feature some of the country’s best teams. The event is one of two prestigious national tournaments Santa Rita has been invited to play in this winter, the second being the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in San Diego, which the team played in last year.
In both cases, players such as junior point guard Terrell Stoglin, ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 26 point guard in the country in the class of 2010, will be given a good opportunity to show off their skills to college recruiters.
Good golfing ahead
Canyon del Oro will host a pair of southern Arizona golf tournaments the next two weekends.
Friday and Saturday at the 49er Country Club in Tucson, the 27-hole 49er Open – nine holes Friday, 18 holes Saturday – will take place featuring four boys teams. The field is host CDO, Catalina Foothills, Mountain View and Salpointe.
Next weekend, the highly-competitive Dorado Invitational will feature 20 boys teams and three girls teams competing at the Rio Rico Country Club.
On the girls side, Catalina Foothills, Gilbert Highland and Avondale Westview will compete.
Local teams on the boys side includes CDO, Sierra Vista Buena, Catalina Foothills, Cienega, Flowing Wells, Ironwood Ridge, Marana, Nogales, Sabino, Santa Rita and Tucson High.
Geoff Grammer’s e-mail: email@example.com