Realignment brings rivals together
by Bob Brownne
Apr 26, 2013 | 2233 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rival high schools in Tracy, Stockton and Lodi will be placed in the same leagues now that the Sac-Joaquin Section Board of Managers has approved a league re-alignment plan.

Representatives of high school sports leagues around the section approved rearranging the leagues by a 45-6 vote Wednesday, April 24, during the section’s regular board meeting at The Reserve in Stockton.

Starting with the 2014-15 school year, Tracy, West, Lincoln, St. Mary’s, Lodi and Tokay high schools will be in one league. Six Stockton schools, Franklin, Stagg, Edison, Chavez, Bear Creek and McNair, will be in another league. Both will be SJS Division I leagues.

The alignment will be reviewed after the 2018 season.

Steve Lopez, representative for the Tri-City Athletic League, which includes West High, said the decision did not include names for the new leagues.

“That will be decided by the leagues when they meet next year,” Lopez said.

TCAL and the San Joaquin Athletic Association, which includes Tracy High, were not going to change under the first proposed realignment in January.

But representatives from the two leagues hammered out their own agreement to pair rival teams that were split when the SJAA divided into the SJAA and TCAL.

“That was one of the rare cases where every single school agreed on the alignment,” section spokesman Will DeBoard said Wednesday. “That’s really how we want the process to happen.”

Lopez said Tracy’s and West’s new league includes six schools that field strong teams in nearly all California Interscholastic Federation-sanctioned sports. They also have sophomore and freshman teams for football, basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball, in contrast to the all-Stockton league, in which some schools have dropped freshman programs.

Tracy High football coach Matt Shrout said he’s glad to see West and Tracy back in the same league again.

“Those games are always fun,” he said. “…That’s the way they used to do it.”

He expects Tracy will have a new challenge trying to win league titles, with Lincoln and St. Mary’s generally being tough teams to beat.

“We’re building something here at Tracy High, so hopefully we’ll match them year-to-year,” Shrout said. “I don’t want to go to playoffs if we can’t beat one of them.”

The Valley Oak League, which includes Kimball High, will also see changes. Central Catholic High School of Modesto moves from the Western Athletic Conference to the VOL, which will become a Division III league, instead of its current status as a Division IV league.

Kimball High Athletic Director Steve Thornton said it will make the eight-team VOL more competitive in boys sports like baseball, basketball, wrestling and football — the Central Catholic football team is the 2012 California Interscholastic Federation Division IV state champion.

“It will be one more team to battle for a playoff spot,” Thornton said.

Changes to Millennium High’s Division VII league, the eight-team Central California Athletic Alliance, include the addition of Venture Academy of Stockton and Turlock Christian.

Delta Charter’s Division VII league, the nine-team Mountain Valley League, will become the new home of Excel Academy of Stockton.

Mountain House High School, which will open in fall 2014, will be in the seven-team Division V Trans-Valley League along with Escalon, Hilmar, Hughson, Modesto Christian, Ripon, Riverbank and Ripon Christian.

• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or brownne@tracypress.com.
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