A vote Tuesday in Porterville will have long term implications on prep sports. Among the changes coming from the latest Central Section realignment meeting is a change in leagues for four Kern County high schools.
Bakersfield Christian will move from the South Sequoia League into the South Yosemite League. To make way, East Bakersfield will move back to the Southeast Yosemite League, a spot the Blades had before a realignment vote 4 years ago moved the school into the SYL.
McFarland and Wonderful Prep (Delano) will join the SSL bringing the total to 8 schools. The changes will go into effect at the start of the 2018-19 school year.
For BCHS, the change was a long time coming. "(Now) you drive to Ridgeview or Independence, we're right down the road," said athletic director Blake Van Der Shaaf. "We're keeping kids in class longer, they're getting home earlier and able to study."
But moving a private school like BCHS into a league with other public schools didn't come without its share of discord. "They've got influence (ability to award scholarships) that we don't have and so when you put them in our league it creates issues," said East Bakersfield athletic director Ken Chapman. He said his comments do not reflect the thoughts of the Kern High School District. He went on to say, "Obviously it's not really a fair playing field. They (private schools) can say it is but it's not."
While that sentiment might be shared by other private schools, on paper the move looks to be a win-win. The Eagles can cut travel costs and keep students in class longer while the Blades can renew regional rivalries with East neighbors Highland, Foothill and Mira Monte.
The Tuesday vote also contained a number of divisional placement changes for local schools highlighted by Ridgeview football moving up to Division I. Kennedy is also moving up going from D-VI to D-V. Several other schools are going the other direction. Stockdale and Frontier will both move to D-II, East & Delano drop to D-IV and Foothill, Mira Monte and Arvin all fall to D-V.
In volleyball, Garces jumps to D-I while BCHS moves up to D-II after winning 4 straight CIF titles. The Eagles tennis team also moves to D-I.
All divisional changes go into effect this Fall.
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