AUSTIN DENTON | STAFF WRITER
UPDATE 12/7/17: Albuquerque Journal’s James Yodice reported late Wednesday night that Albuquerque High and Rio Grande’s football programs have decided to go independent and will not participate in Class 6A, District 2 competition. That paragraph from the story is corrected below.
The New Mexico Activities Association announced the new class and district realignments for all athletic sports that will take effect the 2018-19 year.
It features football programs across the state sticking with six classifications and newly reformed districts, and the rest of the sports across the state dropping down to five classifications and also newly reformed districts. So how does this affect La Cueva athletics?
Class 6A, which is the class that the Bears are currently in for football and all other sports, will cut down from four districts to three in football. As for all of the other sports, the Bears will be dropped to Class 5A, but that will still be the highest class that any program can be in and will also have a newly formed district.
In football, the Bears will still be competing in Class 6A, District 2 with the same teams this season that were in the district last season, which are the Clovis Wildcats, Eldorado Eagles, Manzano Monarchs and the Sandia Matadors.
La Cueva’s athletic director LeeAnn Moores said that with these new districts moving out and combining into the new districts, the weaker districts no longer have an automatic bid in to the state tournament, creating a greater chance for top 10 teams to be in state. “With these districts dissolving and the teams being dispersed among other districts, I would argue that there is a greater chance that the true top 10 teams will be in the state bracket,” Moores said.
In basketball, volleyball, track & field, baseball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and wrestling, the Bears will be in Class 5A, District 2. Only one other team from this year’s district stays, that team being Eldorado. Jumping into District 2 for these sports will be the Farmington Scorpions, the Piedra Vista Panthers and the West Mesa Mustangs.
Swimming and diving has a much larger district when it comes to their district and how they compete against each other in district meets, just because it is a rarity that swimming and diving ever directly compete against a team in a meet. The only thing that is added onto the district is all the members of the new district in the other sports.
“Geography is a key element,” Moores said about the changes. “Even though we have outliers, in a less populated state like ours, we are going to have several hours to travel at times.”
Moores also explained that with the new changes, she believes there is more equal competition amongst the members. She said, “I would argue that the districts are more balanced competition wise. Different sports have their own stronger and weaker schools in some regions but on the whole, the districts to me seem pretty balanced.”