After considering a lot of discussion surrounding some of the appeals (see the previous post) and looking at the way the sectionals are currently arranging, I really have some issues that I’m trying to work through.
One of them is the obvious appeals for the four major Catholic schools: Seton Catholic, Notre Dame Prep, St. Mary’s and Salpointe Catholic. All four are currently in D4 due to enrollment numbers.
Notre Dame is most likely only appealing up one division (from D4 to D3). Seton, in the last 4 years, has appealed up to 4A-II, so if they continue that trend, they too will appeal to D3.
St. Mary’s and Salpointe have historically appealed all the way to the highest division to play. Both schools have a very competitive history, with each owning a couple of Region titles, and both are usually playoff teams.
However, with the new divisional and sectional breakdowns, it might make more sense for St. Mary’s and Salpointe to take the path of Notre Dame and Seton and only appeal up to D3. (If that happens, look for Vista Grande to appeal up to D2 to play with Casa Grande, and Sabino to appeal up to D3 as well.) There are several benefits to playing in D3 – competition, travel times, and in some cases a renewed rivalry.
For example, Salpointe would play in the Kino (Southern) sectional along with other Southern Arizona high schools Amphi (a historical rival dating back to the 1950′s), Sabino, Catalina, Douglas, Sahuarita, and Nogales. Seton Catholic would also be placed in the Kino sectional as well. The travel times for the remainder of the section (Williams Field, Tempe, Vista Grande, Campo Verde, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, and Poston Butte) are not too much of a stretch. St. Mary’s would play in the Skyline (Western) sectional along with West Valley schools Cactus, Desert Edge, Liberty and Peoria. Notre Dame would be placed in the East Sky (Northcentral/Eastern) sectional along with Saguaro.
Already many of the Catholic HS sports are classified as D3 or D2 in some cases. Arguments could be made to move these four to D2, but of them, only St. Mary’s and Salpointe would seriously consider it – the Salpointe AD has stated that he’d prefer all his sports to be in the same division, even though all appeals are on a sport-by-sport basis. If the majority are already in D3, it’d make it easier for him if he just based his appeal on that and moved everything to D3. If he wants absolutely no travel times, an all Tucson region in D2 might be the ticket.
On a personal note, I’d love to see these schools all compete in D4. Seton has a history already with the schools in D4 (the old 3A conference), and it would be no stretch to include Notre Dame, Seton, and St. Mary’s in the Western Canyon (Western) sectional, which would pit them against the perennial West powers Chino Valley and Wickenburg. On the Southern side of the fence, Salpointe staying home in D4 would cause Sabino to stay home as well, matching up several Tucson-area schools in that sectional (Sabino, Santa Rita, Palo Verde, Empire, and Rio Rico) along with Salpointe. The travel times there would not be bad either, with the remainder of the sectional including Florence, Coolidge, Globe and Fountain Hills, Safford being the farthest travel time for any school. (Yes, there would be a little perverse pleasure in seeing the horror on the faces of the Rim Country AD’s who would know that the path to the championship was no longer guaranteed from the old 3A East schools, but I digress…)
Realistically though, I believe that Salpointe and St. Mary’s will end up in D2, with Notre Dame playing D3 and Seton staying D4. Call it a gut feeling.