To realign or not to realign

By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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Placer is out, now Placer is in. Roseville is out but Nevada Union cannot get out. That’s about where league realignment for the Pioneer Valley and Sierra Foothill leagues stand at this point.

It can be no easy matter to try and determine parity for any league based on statistics alone. Of course, the number of students at a school certainly has to be a factor, as well as how many sports each school carries.

In the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section’s first attempt at equalizing the competition, Placer was to be moved into the Capital Athletic league. That would put them up against some Division II schools like El Camino and Antelope.

Mira Loma, a school that for the most part has struggled in the CAL, would have filled the PVL vacancy created by Placer’s departure. Now, neither school seems to like that idea.

Placer pointed to the fact it hadn’t won a football or boys basketball title in seven years, with the exception of the Hillmen’s football championship last year.

Mira Loma’s Matadors have an up-and-coming girls tennis team (the PVL has co-ed tennis) and they also compete in water polo. The teams in the CAL have water polo and only the PVL’s Bear River competes in that sport – in the Sierra Foothill League.

Where parity really falls off, Placer has taken 52 PVL championships compared to the PVL’s second highest team with 18. Lincoln actually has the fewest league banners of any PVL team.

Whereas the PVL will likely stay the same, the SFL could be destined to become the next super league.

“Challenging would be an understatement,” said Rocklin girls basketball head coach Rob Ferraro of the competition in the SFL with the addition of Oak Ridge and Folsom. “Football would be out of this world and volleyball just as exciting.”

The only team missing from the equation would be Roseville. The Tigers requested to be moved out of the SFL because a change in the school’s status has made it increasingly more difficult for them to compete.

Granite Bay won a State championship in football this past season and six of the proposed SFL realignment teams made it into the division I and II section playoffs. In girls volleyball, Granite Bay made it to the championship round in Division I and Rocklin and Del Oro were both in those playoffs. Oak Ridge also made it into the Division I playoffs.

In boys volleyball, Granite Bay (champions), Oak Ridge, Nevada Union and Rocklin all advanced in Division I.

The biggest concern with a seven-team league would be for a deserving team not to be able to make it into the playoffs. Seven teams also means expanded league play leaving fewer preseason games in which to prepare.

Of course, student population in relation to the number of sports a school offers has to be considered. The PVL has consistently been Division III with Bear River and Colfax competing at Division IV. The 2012-13 student population for Placer was 1,372; Bear River was 788 and Colfax 725.

The SFL doesn’t have that much of a problem with student populations that run as high as 1,800 or more.

Regardless of how the leagues are realigned, prep sports should continue to be some of the most successful, competitive entertainment around. And serve as an excellent training ground for helping student/athletes to understand what it takes to achieve excellence.