Successful Del Oro Grid Program Headed To Div. II

CIF Elevates SFL Schools To Div. I For Playoffs

By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Services
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It came sudden and without much warning, but starting with the 2012-13 school year this Fall, teams from the Sierra Foothill League will compete at the Division I level for CIF Sac-Joaquin Section championships. Keeping with a current trend that sees the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section seeking competitive equity throughout its massive section that extends from Merced in the south to Yuba City and Colfax in the north, the section’s leagues voted by a 47-4 count to move the SFL into Div. I. “When you look back and see that the SFL won sixteen section championships in Div. II last year it gives you a pretty good idea of what needed to be done,” said CIF assistant commissioner John Williams. That the change of playoff classifications came in the middle of a four-year realignment period was somewhat surprising but not unprecedented. “People have to remember that we used to be on a two-year cycle for a long time,” said Williams. “But I believe this is the first time in the last 12 or 14 years that we’ve done this.” Williams noted that after Oak Ridge and Ponderosa moved to Div I two years ago and that the Sierra Valley Conference was broken up, the SFL has not had much competition at the Div. II level in the post season. This year the SFL is on a pace to win two-thirds of the sports this year, even though it's one of three D2 leagues. "It's become a focus for the section the last five years about the need to provide equality,” said Williams. "High school sports isn't just for winning championships. It has a lot to do with giving everyone a fair shake.” SFL teams will now compete in Div. I for playoffs in sports such as wrestling, volleyball, softball, soccer, baseball, tennis, golf, water polo, track and cross country. Locally, Del Oro’s successful football program will be affected, but only in a slight way. Because Del Oro’s enrollment (1,696) falls under the usual Div. II parameters, the Golden Eagles will most likely be competing next season in playoffs at the Div. II level. Del Oro has won the last two Div. III football championships. Although the SFL will be a Div. I league, teams with smaller enrollments can drop down a playoff division – but only one division – for playoffs. This will also most likely be the case for Del Oro’s boys and girls basketball teams. In other news from the CIF Board of Managers meeting, four teams were promoted for their "legacy of success," with girls' hoops teams from St. Mary's (to D1) and Sacramento (D2) moving up. Sacramento's gone to nine consecutive D3 finals, and St. Mary's runs a national program that has six state titles since 2002.