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The City Journals

South valley regions set up for next season

Jan 21, 2019 02:48PM ● By Greg James

Herriman basketball will find themselves playing against familiar opponents next season after the UHSAA sets realignment. (Greg James/City Journals)

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.

“I personally would like regions to stay set for four years,” Herriman Athletic Director Brad Tingey said. “It gives us a chance to establish some rivalries, but I think we have been treated fairly. We have been hurt playing teams from Utah County as far as attendance. Being located so close develops better fan support. The new region puts us with more natural rivals.”

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. Mountain Ridge was  considered a bubble school in the 6A classification. Bubble schools were allowed to argue which of two classifications they should join. After consideration they choose to move into 5A.

“The new regions for 2019–20 are going to be a great challenge for our programs,” Copper Hills Athletic Director Darby Freeland said. “We have some good rivalries formed with Bingham and Herriman. Adding East and West presents a new element as, they have had good success.”

The 2019 alignment for Region 3 will include Bingham, Copper Hills, East, Herriman, Riverton and West. Mountain Ridge High School will compete in Region 7 against Alta, Jordan, Lehi, Mountain View, Orem, Timpanogos and Timpview.

Providence Hall and Summit Academy will continue to compete against each other in Region 13. RSL Academy competes in Region 15.

“I think the rivalries are important,” Riverton Athletic Director Dan Henderson said. “That is when the students actually attend the games because they are important to them.”

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 at the board confirmation meeting.

“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 the committee looks 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,” he 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 (Cyprus, Granger, Hunter, Kearns, Taylorsville, West Jordan), 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, while 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.