Conference Realignment Complete

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The realignment of the 3A conference, which occurs every two years, is just about complete.

The only glitch in the Arizona Interscholastic Association mandated rearrangement lies with St. Johns, which has 2A enrollment numbers (355 students) but could petition to move up to the 3A ranks.

The 3A conference houses schools with student populations of 450 to 949 students.

Payson High School athletic director Dave Bradley said the St. Johns school board had agreed to move to 3A, but there was to be a meeting of area residents late this week to make the final decision.

"They missed the deadline (for petition to change conferences), but they could go ahead and ask (the AIA) to move (to 3A)," he said.

Bradley was certain if St. Johns were allowed to move to 3A, the school would become a member of the East region.

Currently, the East region has six schools -- Blue Ridge, Round Valley, Snowflake, Show Low, Alchesay and Payson.

Holbrook, which was an East member the past two years, has moved to the North region.

"That makes sense for them geographically and because they have a large Native American student population like the other North schools," Bradley said.

Around the conference, the North region will house seven schools, the west six and the south eight.

Chandler Seton Catholic, which has 3A numbers of 530 students, successfully petitioned to move up to 4A.

Fountain Hills, which was set to be aligned in the West, asked, and was allowed, to move to the South for travel reasons.

"Travel and time out of school was a big concern (in the realignment)," Bradley said. "Especially for schools like Parker, Sahuarita, Monument Valley and Round Valley. Because of their distant location, they must travel (long distances) as do their opponents."

With just five opponents in the East region, PHS will have to scramble to find foes to fill athletic schedules.

"We (athletic directors) have agreed to schedule within the 3A," Bradley said.

Which means, fans could be seeing many more non-region games during the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years.

Likely non-region foes could include Globe, Miami, Chino Valley and Fountain Hills.

Bradley said the AIA has a computer system that can help with scheduling by selecting opponents closest to one another.

Which means, no more tiring lengthy bus trips to faraway locations like Chinle, Parker and Page, as some Longhorn teams have had to do in the past.

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