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Prep sports: 2 sports make appeals

Baseball and girls tennis will ask the CIF-SS to put them in lower divisions than proposed

Posted: March 31, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 31, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

The Foothill League has submitted formal appeals to the CIF-Southern Section office on behalf of two sports — girls tennis and baseball — after receiving the proposed playoff groupings for the 2012 through 2014 seasons on March 9.

The league will present its arguments on April 4 at 9:40 a.m. before the Playoff Groupings Committee, requesting that the girls tennis programs stay in Division III and the baseball programs move down to Division II.

The CIF-SS proposal would put the league’s girls tennis teams into Division II and leave its baseball teams in Division I.

Leagues are allowed to appeal the proposal based upon three criteria: geography, enrollment and competitive equity.

Foothill League baseball representatives will present a case to the committee that highlights all three components.

The league argues that it is at a competitive disadvantage in Division I, highlighted by its 3-11 playoff record from 2009 to 2011 in non-play-in games.

With the inclusion of West Ranch and Golden Valley high schools, the Foothill League also maintains that the area’s population is too small to field competitive teams at all six schools at the Division I level.

“Our league has talent, but not the talent to compete with districts with (three to four) schools drawing from a major population. We believe this is due to the size of our district and the talent being spread out to (six) schools rather than (four) we have had in the past,” the league argues in a letter written to the CIF-SS that was obtained by The Signal.

In addition, the league contends that the Mission League has engaged in recruiting of students who would otherwise be competing for Foothill League schools.

The Mission League includes Loyola, Alemany, Harvard-Westlake, Chaminade, St. Francis, Notre Dame and Crespi high schools.

“We’ve had players that have left our district to go down there and we can’t certainly go out and invite kids to our schools for academic or athletic reasons,” said West Ranch athletic director and Foothill League secretary Dody Garcia. “So, that’s the sentiment or the feeling. We have to coach the kids that live in our boundaries and fortunately those families choose to do the right thing and stay at their home school for athletic and academic purposes.”

Alemany, in Mission Hills, is the closest Mission League school to the Santa Clarita Valley.

According to Alemany baseball head coach Randy Thompson, none of his nine starters on the varsity baseball team are from the SCV. In addition, none of the three pitchers who have logged the most innings for Alemany this season are from the SCV.

The Foothill League also argues that the geographic distance between the Santa Clarita Valley and the majority of Division I campuses poses an unfair burden on the programs.

“Every league outside of the Marmonte League we average a minimum of over 70 miles in travel distance alone,” the letter states.

Given that the baseball programs themselves have to cover travel costs for buses or carpool to away games, the league contends these distances are a detriment to the league.

In girls tennis, the league has also touched on competitive equity, school enrollment and geography in arguing to stay in Division II.

Working against the league is the success of West Ranch and Valencia high schools in recent years, and Hart’s run to the third round of the postseason last year.

However, the league argues it should not be moved up because no team has advanced past the semifinals since West Ranch joined the league, and that outside of Hart’s run last season, playoff success has been largely concentrated at only West Ranch and Valencia.

The league also argues that the proposed Castaic high school could further reduce the class sizes at the six league schools and dilute talent.

Lastly, the league believes that the girls tennis programs do not have the same level of facilities or United States Tennis Associations athletes that other Division II programs have.

Notes: While Foothill League representatives have expressed their support of the proposed football realignment, which would  move the Marmonte League out of the Northern Division and replace it with the Pac-7 league, on Tuesday the committee heard an appeal from Marmonte League representatives, who oppose the move.

661-287-5530

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