From the Sidelines: County preps sports see changes in class, district

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A new high school sports season is starting soon and there are a few changes that county prep sports fans need to know about, if you all don’t know about them already.

Class 4A now Class 5A
The county’s three big high schools got promoted up a class — and so did all the other 4A schools. That’s because the New Mexico Activities Association has moved to a six-class system for basketball, volleyball and track, like associations in surrounding states Texas, Colorado and Arizona.
Football is actually now split into seven classes, Class 6A down to Class 2A plus six-man and eight-man football (essentially Class A). Baseball is now split into five classes instead of four (Class A and 2A are a combined Class A/2A). All other sports have a variation on these themes — Class 6A and 5A being their own divisions with Class 4A or Class 3A combined with the lower classes to form one class (wrestling, for instance, has three classes — Class A/4A, Class 5A and Class 6A.
Why? Well, for one thing, the NMAA already had six classes — they just called the lowest class Class B, while the highest class was Class 5A. Class B has now been renamed Class A with the other higher classes were bumped up as well.
So this is just a cosmetic change, right? Not exactly.
Santa Fe and Deming are two schools familiar to Valencia County fans who followed the football playoffs and basketball tournament in recent years. They’ve been moved up to Class 6A now.
Lovington, home of football’s Brian Urlacher and a fine athletic tradition, has been moved up from the old Class 3A (now 4A) to Class 5A in the district with Roswell, Roswell Goddard and Artesia.
Another big change is there are no longer any three-team districts like the old Roswell-Artesia district.
Let’s keep our focus on Class 5A (formerly 4A) now.

New district for county teams
Class 5A is now down to five districts from six districts the past four years.
For the past four years, Belen, Los Lunas and Valencia had been in District 6-4A with Gallup, Miyamura of Gallup and Grants.
That district has now been scattered to the wind.
The Gallup schools are now in a Four Corners district with four Farmington-area schools. Grants has joined the new District 5 with Albuquerque Academy, St. Pius and Moriarty.
Our Valencia County schools have been absorbed into District 5A with Las Cruces Centennial, Santa Teresa and Chaparral. Those three school are all south off of Interstate 25 in Doña Ana county.
Yeah, that’s not exactly optimum, especially when you consider Grants and Moriarty are both about an hour away from Albuquerque off Interstate 40. But hey, them’s the breaks.
Los Lunas spent many unhappy years in District 3-4A when 4A was the biggest classification, and Las Cruces and Mayfield high schools were the bullies on the block.
Centennial is a new school and as such not cut from the same cloth as the other Las Cruces schools. But they’ll likely be the better competition.
Next week, we’ll get a little overview of the athletic programs at Centennial, Chaparral and Santa Teresa high schools.
Stay tuned.

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