4a Split Could Alter Phs Plans

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Although Payson has been granted its appeal to become a 3A school for the next two-year block of scheduling, another alignment option might exist in the Longhorns' future.

The choice centers on recent discussions about the 4A conference separating into two divisions -- large and small school.

The proposed small school division could include the likes of: Buckeye (1,193), Mingus (1,237), Arcadia (1,284) Coronado (1,262) and Cortez (1,304).

The large school division could include Tucson Sahuaro (1,896), Tempe McClintock (1,890) and Sandra Day O'Connor (1,890).

Sid Bailey, 4A conference president, said early this week the league will discuss the possibility of splitting in half at its meeting next Monday.

Originally, 4A was to split only if the conference had more than 60 schools in the AIA realignment.

Talks of splitting have continued despite the fact both the 4A and 5A conferences now have 58 member schools each.

The 5A conference representatives met yesterday to decide how to realign for the coming two-year block. If the 5A decides to split into two leagues, that decision could affect what 4A does, Bailey said.

According to PHS athletic director Dave Bradley, if the 4A split occurs and there is a small school region that includes East Valley teams like Queen Creek, Higley and Apache Junction, the possibility exists that Payson could petition the AIA to rejoin the 4A conference and be aligned in the East valley region.

Such a conference and region placement would be highly beneficial to PHS students because there would be less travel time and winter trips wouldn't be on snow covered roads as was the case when Payson was in the East and Grand Canyon regions.

For now, Payson High is a 3A school awaiting a regional assignment.

If the 4A splits, PHS school officials will be mulling over a request to rejoin 4A and be placed in an East Valley region.

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