The on-going realignment of the 3A conference won't be finalized until a Feb. 23 meeting of state high school athletic directors. As it appears now, the East region will include just six teams Snowflake, Show Low, Blue Ridge, Round Valley, Alchesay and Payson.
The South will feature nine teams and the North, West and South will house eight schools.
Payson High School Athletic Director Dave Bradley said the realignment results will make scheduling much more difficult for East schools.
However, the situation is one region AD's will simply have to deal with.
"We have no choice," Bradley said. "We appealed, but it did no good."
The problem with having just six teams in the East is that ADs will have to scramble to fill football and basketball schedules.
Bradley thinks he's solved the dilemma of next year's nine-game football schedule by picking up non-regional games against St. Johns, Wickenburg, Holbrook and Tuba City.
However, if conference athletic directors opt to increase the football schedule from nine to 10 games when they meet Feb. 23, Bradley will be forced to find another game. Winslow would be a possibility.
Having to find a greater number of nonregion games, Bradley said, will probably increase travel time for most of the East schools.
The realignment dilemma began last fall when Holbrook school officials asked to leave the East and be reassigned to the North division to ease travel pains. They pleaded the move would also mean less missed school time for Holbrook athletes.
Originally, Globe was to replace Holbrook in the East division, but the school balked at the move saying it would increase their athletes' travel and time out of school.
The quandary of the realignment see-sawed back and forth until last month when the appeal by the East ADs to have four eight team regions was rejected.
If there is any good news in having the smaller region, it's that two-thirds of the East teams will qualify for state.
"We'll still send four," Bradley said.
Although having just six teams is not an ideal situation for coaches, ADs and athletes, the East has been smaller.
In an AIA-mandated realignment for the 1983-84 school year, the East housed just four teams Show Low, Snowflake, Holbrook and Payson. That situation existed, however, for just one year.
Time left for Little League sign-ups
Registration for play in Payson Little League continues Jan. 20 and Jan. 27.
Registration this Saturday is from 9 a.m. to noon at the Payson Town Hall council chambers. The following Saturday, Jan. 27, parents can register their children from 9 a.m. to noon at the Payson Police Department.
Youngsters ages 7 to 15 are eligible to participate in the program. Ages are determined as of Aug. 1, 2001.
Registration fee is $40 for the first child in a family. Second child sign-up is $35 and $30 for the third. Fees include complete uniform, which may be kept by the players.
For information, call Ron Miller (474-5093), Don Engler (474-4609), Don Bell (474-4303) or Kim Sleeper (476-5275).