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West Valley City Journal

Teams ready for realignment in 2019

Jan 30, 2019 10:40AM ● By Greg James

Hunter and Granger high schools will continue their rivalry in the new region alignments that begin this fall.

By Greg James | [email protected] 

In December, the Utah High School Activities Association released its final determination for region alignments for the upcoming school year. 

“The new region alignment for 2019–20 is the best representation for my school that I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching,” Hunter High School soccer coach Bret Solberg said. “These schools are all quite similar to each other, and that leads to fair competition.”

The realignment committee consisted of 16 members, including an athletic director, a representative from each classification in the state, a private school, charter school and six board of trustee members. The committee received current enrollment numbers on Oct. 1 and arranged each school into six classifications.

The committee delivered a first consideration in October for schools to evaluate. Kearns and Granger were considered bubble schools in the 6A classification. Bubble schools were allowed to argue which of two classifications they could join. After consideration, they chose to stay in 6A with schools in their area.

“A few years ago, Granger, Hunter and West were in a region with Davis County schools, and that was hard because we were not similar to them,” Solberg said.

The 2019 alignment for Region 2 will include Cyprus, Granger, Hunter, Kearns, Taylorsville and West Jordan. These school will compete in this region for two years. All but one of the schools (West Jordan) is in the Granite School District. 

“I do feel like we have been treated fairly,” Taylorsville athletic director Guy Mackay said. “Being an only school in your district in a region is hard, but us being back with schools with similar demographics is good. As far as competitiveness goes, it will be good. We are back with some of our natural rivals.”

The UHSAA oversees 109 state championships over 10 boys and 10 girls sanctioned sports. Executive director Rob Cuff emphasized the importance of balance in its regions.

“We wanted more like schools in each region,” Cuff said in an open meeting about alignment. “It minimizes risk, especially in football. Some say it is watered down, but now we have similar schools playing each other. There is not a big difference in school size.”

The committee uses two factors in its decisions: enrollment and free lunch applications. Cuff said they look for things that can be measured to make alignment decisions.

“There are 51 different high school associations around the country, and there are 51 different ways to work this out,” Cuff said. “There are states that use the success factor in determining regions. We have not felt that is the way we want to do it yet. Some want it that way; others don’t. I have heard mixed feelings on some of our regions like Region 2, but we feel this is a group of like schools and it may not be the strongest, but it is competitive.”

Some have argued that the qualifications for state tournaments should be changed to allow more competitive teams into the state playoffs.

“I think it is unfair that some better teams sit at home during playoff time,” Herriman head boys basketball coach Scott Briggs said. “Maybe the region champions should get a bye into the tournament, and then the lower-place teams play-into the tournament. I am not sure how to do it, but we need to look at it.”

There is a motion for the UHSAA to analyze its playoff formats. Currently, the top four teams in each region qualify for the state tournament. In 2019, Region 1 will have eight schools, whereas the other three regions in the 6A classification each have only six.

The UHSAA is scheduled to analyze the enrollment and realign its members in 2021.