MIDVALE — The Utah High School Activities Association finalized the high school sports realignment for the 2019-21 school years at its Board of Trustees meeting Thursday.
Here are some of the major things that happened affecting area schools.
Roy High’s move back into Region 1 is finalized. The Royals are in a region with Weber, Fremont, Clearfield, Layton, Northridge, Syracuse and Davis. Perhaps the biggest surprise and change from prior drafts of realignment is that Davis and Farmington High both avoided a Salt Lake County region for now.
Davis and Farmington were initially placed into Region 3 in the previous realignment draft, but will stay in their current regions (Region 1 and Region 5). The Phoenix will compete in a much-changed Region 5 that includes Bonneville (moving up from 4A despite wanting to stay in 4A), Bountiful, Viewmont, Woods Cross and Park City (all sports except football).
In the first draft of regions, East and Highland were in Region 5 with Bonneville, Box Elder and the three south Davis County schools. East and Highland expressed desires to be in Salt Lake County regions, desires which were met.
That left Region 5 needing two more schools and it got them: Farmington, coming from what was beginning to be a complicated situation in 6A, and Park City, which more or less was ok with traveling more to go to Region 5 instead of a Salt Lake County region where it was initially placed.
Ogden and Ben Lomond are staying in 4A Region 10 with Tooele, Stansbury, Juan Diego, but Bonneville and Park City have been replaced by Cedar Valley (a new high school in Eagle Mountain, Utah County) and Uintah, a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Ogden.
The option for Ogden and Ben Lomond to instead move to a more geographically convenient Region 11 (Bear River and the five Cache Valley schools) was never brought up and it was eliminated when Mountain View (Orem) moved up from 4A to 5A, creating an imbalance of regions that would preclude the two Ogden schools from moving.
Layton Christian is going back into a region with nearby schools St. Joseph and Utah Military Academy. The Eagles were initially placed in Region 16 with rural schools, but were moved after Monticello’s addition to Region 16 created additional travel headaches. LCA will play 2A football in a seven-school 2A North division now that the 1A football classification has been eliminated.
One change that didn’t sit well with some was how Region 1 and the rest of 6A look. The sticking point right now is that the new alignment has Region 1 with eight schools while the other three regions in 6A have six schools.
It’s the same argument that’s been floating around under the current alignment, where Region 1 has seven schools and the other three regions have five — but regardless of region size, the top four seeds from each region qualify for the state playoffs.
“I just don’t think that’s equitable. You’ve got to win half of your games in our region to even have a chance to qualify,” Syracuse athletic director and head softball coach Kelly Anderson said. He said a Region 1 team might have to go 4-3 to make the playoffs but, in another region, just one win could mean getting a bid to the state tournament.
But the process for playoff qualification appears to be changing.
The Board and UHSAA staff recommend considering changes to the current playoff qualification format to better address unbalanced regions, competitive equity, “power regions” such as Region 4 in football this year, and the divide between urban and rural schools, among other issues.
It’s very open-ended.
The UHSAA Executive Committee, which meets in January and March next year, could do anything from keeping the current four-bids-for-all-regions format, make bids unbalanced to account for large regions, or introduce something like a “playoff seeding” system that ranks teams for a state tournament based on a predetermined metric.
Either way, the playoff system will change for 4A because the classification has gone from four regions to three.
Another consideration for Region 1 is the sport of soccer. An eight-team region dictates playing 14 region games but soccer teams are only allowed to play a total of 16 regular-season games.
Ogden High athletic director Shawn MacQueen said the school’s overall feeling about being placed in Region 10 is positive thanks to familiarity with Tooele, Stansbury and Juan Diego, despite the additional travel.
“We’re familiar with those programs, we’re happy to still be in the region with Ben Lomond...I understand we’re spread out a little more when you add a Utah County school and Uintah; I think it’s a good region for us and that we’ll enjoy it and have a good chance at success,” MacQueen said.
New Region Alignments for Area Schools, 2019-21
Region 1: Clearfield, Fremont, Davis, Layton, Northridge, Roy, Syracuse, Weber
Region 5: Bonneville, Bountiful, Box Elder, Farmington, Viewmont, Woods Cross, Park City (all sports except football)
Region 10: Ben Lomond, Ogden, Tooele, Stansbury, Cedar Valley, Uintah, Juan Diego (all sports except football), Mountain View (football only), Park City (football only)
Region 11: Bear River, Mountain Crest, Sky View, Logan, Ridgeline, Green Canyon
Region 13: Morgan, Grantsville, South Summit, Summit Academy, Providence Hall (all sports except football), Judge Memorial, Juan Diego (football only)
Region 17: Layton Christian, St. Joseph, Utah Military Academy, Rockwell, Rowland Hall, Waterford, APA-West Valley
2A North (football): Layton Christian, Altamont, Duchesne, Gunnison, Monticello, Rich, North Summit