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Utah prep realignment: Latest proposal puts 8 schools in Region 5; 6A classification down to 3 regions

By Patrick Carr - Prep Sports Reporter | Dec 8, 2022

BRIAN WOLFER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Clearfield defender Abby Ertel (32) tries to clear the ball as Herriman's Ella Willardson (38) pursues during a 6A first-round playoff game Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, in Clearfield.

MIDVALE — Region 5, the northern 5A region in Utah high school sports that has historically included some mix of Box Elder, Bonneville, Roy and schools in south Davis County, has a lot of suitors.

That was especially evident during Thursday’s Utah High School Activities Association realignment board meeting, where board members and UHSAA staff placed high schools into classifications and settled on a first draft of regions that would be in effect for the 2023-25 school years.

The latest proposal creates, among other things, a logjam in Region 5.

Administrators from Roy High, Bonneville, Clearfield and Northridge all presented to the board on Thursday and indicated they want to join 5A Region 5. Their requests, for now, were granted.

In the initial placement of classifications two weeks ago, Clearfield and Northridge were initially placed on the bottom part of 6A. Roy initially landed as the largest school in 5A and Bonneville was one of the larger schools in 4A.

The three south Davis County schools currently in Region 5 — Viewmont, Bountiful and Woods Cross — also want to remain in 5A Region 5. Their requests were also granted, making eight schools in Region 5 in the latest proposal.

The UHSAA has previously said regions of six and seven teams are ideal, while regions of five and eight are doable, but not optimal.

A nine-team region is less doable than an eight-team region because of scheduling headaches, but depending on what the board does with West Field (the new school in Taylor) next year, Region 5 may even grow to nine teams in two years.

The initial proposal the board agreed to on Thursday has some other big potential changes. The 6A classification would shrink from four regions to three, with Region 1 consisting of Weber, Fremont, Layton, Syracuse, Davis and Farmington.

The Salt Lake County-based Region 2 schools — Kearns, Cyprus, etc. — would all move from 6A to 5A, stay in a region together and pick up West Jordan, as well.

The 4A classification would expand from two regions to four, with a Salt Lake-based region with the likes of Murray, Cottonwood and Hillcrest, and a Utah County-based region including Provo, Timpanogos and Mountain View.

Ben Lomond and Ogden were initially placed in 4A two weeks ago in the first draft but landed in 3A Thursday because both schools have free-and-reduced lunch rates higher than 50% and, per UHSAA rules, are able to apply down one classification.

They were placed in a region with Morgan, Grantsville, South Summit and Union. The board had a long discussion about Logan, the largest 3A school in the initial classification run-through, and eventually placed Logan in 4A with its Cache County cohorts despite LHS officials wanting 3A.

Under the latest proposal, Layton Christian would be in 3A and move to a private/charter school region with Juan Diego and Judge Memorial.

LCA’s football team would be in 2A and the school is expected to apply in January to move its boys basketball and boys soccer programs up to 4A, where they’re both playing this season, if not higher depending on how successful they are.

St. Joseph Catholic and Utah Military Academy, who have been in the same 2A region for years, are split among two different regions along the Wasatch Front under the new proposal. SJC is expected to play in the eight-player football league next year, as well.

The board has had a tougher realignment than normal to deal with this time around.

There were 53 so-called “bubble schools” this cycle — schools that were given the option to move up or down a classification.

That’s much more than previous realignments due to a rule change that gave the board more flexibility to move schools between classifications.

The rule change was made, in part, so the board could avoid a situation like the current alignment in which the 4A classification has 13 schools and 5A has 33.

It was clear this time that nobody wanted to be in 6A if they could avoid it. Of the 15 schools on the 6A/5A bubble this year, 14 asked to be in 5A. (Corner Canyon was the only 5A school that wanted to be in 6A.)

The UHSAA staff and board looked at several factors in trying to sort through bubble schools, including schools’ RPI results, state tournament finishes in the non-RPI sports, geography, rivalries and schools’ individual preferences, with the inherent understanding that they can’t make everyone happy.

TIMELINE

What was presented Thursday isn’t final.

There will be a public hearing over Zoom at 7 p.m. Wednesday and then a board meeting next Thursday to somewhat finalize the alignment.

The alignment wouldn’t be 100% finalized next week because, in a new rule this year, the UHSAA is allowing schools to petition at its January board meeting to move “a specific sport or activity” up to “a higher classification,” according to the UHSAA handbook.

The UHSAA recently allowed Layton Christian and Juan Diego to move certain sports (boys basketball, boys soccer) up to higher classifications on a case-by-case basis, but has never explicitly opened that possibility to all schools up until now.

One could potentially see some powerhouse sports at certain schools try to move up.

ALIGNMENT PROPOSAL (NON-FOOTBALL)

6A Region 1: Weber, Fremont, Davis, Farmington, Layton, Syracuse

6A Region 2: Bingham, Cooper Hills, Herriman, Riverton, Mountain Ridge, Lehi

6A Region 3: Corner Canyon, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Lone Peak, Skyridge, Westlake

5A Region 4: Cyprus, Granger, Taylorsville, West Jordan, Kearns, Hunter

5A Region 5: Bonneville, Roy, Box Elder, Clearfield, Northridge, Bountiful, Viewmont, Woods Cross

5A Region 6: Alta, Brighton, Olympus, Skyline, East, Highland, West

5A Region 7: Maple Mountain, Payson, Salem Hills, Spanish Fork, Springville, Timpview, Wasatch, Cedar Valley

4A Region 8: Mountain View, Orem, Provo, Timpanogos, Stansbury, Tooele

4A Region 9: Cedar, Snow Canyon, Dixie, Pine View, Hurricane, Crimson Cliffs, Desert Hills

4A Region 10: Cottonwood, Hillcrest, Jordan, Murray, Park City, Uintah

4A Region 11: Bear River, Sky View, Green Canyon, Mountain Crest, Ridgeline, Logan

3A Region 12: Carbon, Delta, Emery, Richfield, Juab, Manti, North Sanpete, Canyon View

3A Region 13: Ben Lomond, Ogden, Morgan, Grantsville, South Summit, Union

3A Region 14: Layton Christian, Judge Memorial, Juan Diego, Providence Hall, Summit Academy

2A Region 15: Duchesne, Grand, Gunnison, North Sevier, North Summit, San Juan

2A Region 16: St. Joseph, American Heritage, American Leadership, APA-Draper, Maeser Prep, Rowland Hall, Waterford

2A Region 17: Utah Military Academy, APA-West Valley, Freedom Prep, Intermountain Christian, Merit, Rockwell, Real Salt Lake Academy, UMA-Camp Williams, Wasatch Academy

2A Region 18: Beaver, Enterprise, Kanab, Millard, Parowan, South Sevier, Water Canyon

1A Region 19: Green River, Monticello, Lake Powell, Monument Valley, Navajo Mountain, Pinnacle, Whitehorse

1A Region 20: Bryce Valley, Diamond Ranch, Escalante, Milford, Panguitch, Piute, Valley, Wayne

1A Reigon 21: Dugway, EskDale, Telos, Tintic, Wendover, West Desert, West Ridge

1A Region 22: Altamont, Manila, Mount Vernon, Rich, Tabiona, Utah Schools for the Deaf & Blind

FOOTBALL ALIGNMENT PROPOSAL

6A Region 1: Weber, Fremont, Davis, Farmington, Layton, Syracuse

6A Region 2: Bingham, Cooper Hills, Herriman, Riverton, Mountain Ridge, Lehi

6A Region 3: Corner Canyon, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Lone Peak, Skyridge, Westlake

5A Region 4: Cyprus, Granger, Taylorsville, West Jordan, Kearns, Hunter

5A Region 5: Bonneville, Roy, Box Elder, Clearfield, Northridge, Bountiful, Viewmont, Woods Cross

5A Region 6: Alta, Brighton, Olympus, Skyline, Orem, East, Highland, West

5A Region 7: Maple Mountain, Payson, Salem Hills, Spanish Fork, Springville, Timpview, Wasatch, Cedar Valley

4A Region 8: Mountain View, Provo, Timpanogos, Stansbury, Tooele

4A Region 9: Cedar, Desert Hills, Snow Canyon, Dixie, Pine View, Hurricane, Crimson Cliffs

4A Region 10: Cottonwood, Hillcrest, Jordan, Murray, Park City, Uintah

4A Region 11: Bear River, Sky View, Green Canyon, Mountain Crest, Ridgeline, Logan

3A North: Ben Lomond, Ogden, Morgan, Grantsville, Juan Diego, Union

3A South: Canyon View, Carbon, Juab, Manti, North Sanpete, Richfield

2A North: Layton Christian, Judge Memorial, South Summit, Summit Academy, Providence Hall

2A South: Emery, American Leadership, Grand, San Juan, South Sevier, Delta

1A North: Duchesne, Millard, Gunnison, North Sevier, North Summit

1A South: Beaver, Enterprise, Kanab, Milford, Parowan

8-player league: St. Joseph, Altamont, Diamond Ranch, Monticello, Rich, Monument Valley, Water Canyon, Whitehorse, Utah Schools for the Deaf & Blind

Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at pcarr@standard.net, Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.

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