New alignments will take effect for 2018-2019 school year

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FARMINGTON — Most of San Juan County's prep sports teams seem more than fine with their new district alignments.

Under the New Mexico Activities Association's new district alignments for 2018-2019, which were released today, most of the area teams will stay together — with a couple of new twists.

Aztec, Bloomfield and Kirtland Central will remain paired up in sports like football, basketball and baseball, but will be joined by Shiprock.

"As a whole, it looks like what we were expecting. We've been hearing this for a while," Aztec athletic director Bryan Sanders said.

Those teams will be in Class 4A.

"For girls basketball, it's probably going to be the toughest district overall in 4A next year," Bloomfield girls basketball coach Tom Adair said. "Those are big rival games. Since I can remember as a little kid, those schools have always competed."

Meanwhile, crosstown rivals Farmington and Piedra Vista will be paired together in all sports in Class 5A. That football district will feature Farmington, PV, Highland and Miyamura.

In sports like volleyball, basketball and baseball, the new district will feature Farmington, PV, West Mesa, Eldorado and La Cueva.

That group will be a formidable one on the diamond. The Panthers' baseball success is well chronicled, while La Cueva has won nine state titles since 2003 and Eldorado has won eight state titles since 1985.

"It doesn't get a lot easier. That's the reward in this, getting the opportunity to play the best of the best," said PV baseball coach Mike McGaha, whose squad plays New Mexico baseball heavyweights Volcano Vista, Rio Rancho and Cleveland in its current district. "The challenge is, a lot of times, insurmountable, but it's a lot more fun trying to go after something like that."

The new districts also mean old rivalries will be renewed.

In baseball, for example, Farmington and PV will go head-to-head in district.

"Playing a road game at home is a lot better than playing a road game getting off the bus. We like that idea a lot better," McGaha said. "Farmington High gives Piedra Vista all we can handle."

Shiprock football coach and athletic director Eric Stovall said he plans to file an appeal to have his programs moved to Class 3A, a request the NMAA's appeals committee will hear.

Stovall said it's possible Shiprock will go independent in football if the school isn't approved to go to 3A.

The NMAA already voted in June to eliminate Class 6A starting with the 2018-2019 school, with the exception of football. All other sports will feature classes 1A through 5A.

The NMAA later voted in September to reduce the number of playoff football teams in classes 2A through 6A, along with eight man, from 12 to 10 beginning next fall. Six-man competition will feature four playoff teams.

The new district formats will run through the 2019-2020 school year.

New district alignments

2A football

Dulce, Esclante, McCurdy, Mission Achievement and Success, Newcomb

3A football

Cuba, Hope Christian, Laguna Acoma, Navajo Prep

4A football

Aztec, Bloomfield, Gallup, Kirtland Central, Shiprock

5A football

Farmington, Highland, Miyamura, Piedra Vista

2A basketball, volleyball, track and field

Navajo Pine, Newcomb, Pine Hill, Ramah, Rehoboth Christian, Tse' Yi' Gai

3A basketball, volleyball, track and field

Crownpoint, Navajo Prep, Thoreau, Tohatchi, Zuni

4A basketball, volleyball, track and field

Aztec, Bloomfield, Gallup, Kirtland Central, Miyamura, Shiprock, Wingate

5A basketball, volleyball, track and field

Eldorado, Farmington, La Cueva, Piedra Vista, West Mesa

2A baseball

Native American Community Academy, Navajo Pine, Newcomb, Rehoboth Christian

3A baseball

Laguna Acoma, Navajo Prep, Thoreau, Tohatchi, Zuni

4A baseball

Aztec, Bloomfield, Gallup, Kirtland Central, Miyamura, Shiprock, Wingate

5A baseball

Eldorado, Farmington, La Cueva, Piedra Vista, West Mesa

A/2A cross-country

Navajo Pine, Newcomb, Pine Hill, Ramah, Rehoboth Christian, Tse' Yi' Gai

3A cross-country

Crowpoint, Navajo Prep, Thoreau, Tohatchi, Zuni

4A cross-country

Aztec, Bloomfield, Gallup, Kirtland Central, Miyamura, Shiprock, Wingate

5A cross-country

Eldorado, Farmington, La Cueva, Piedra Vista, West Mesa

A-3A golf

Navajo Prep, Raton, Robertson, Springer, St. Michael's, West Las Vegas

4A golf

Aztec, Bloomfield (boys), Gallup, Kirtland Central, Miyamura, Shiprock

5A golf

Eldorado, Farmington, La Cueva, Piedra Vista, West Mesa

A-3A soccer

Academy Tech (girls), Desert Academy, Monte Del Sol, Moreno Valley (boys), Navajo Prep (girls), Questa (boys), Rehoboth Christian, Tierra Encantada (boys)

4A soccer

Aztec, Bloomfield, Gallup, Kirtland Central, Miyamura

5A soccer

Eldorado, Farmington, La Cueva, Piedra Vista, West Mesa

A-2A softball

Native American Community Academy, Navajo Pine, Newcomb, Rehoboth Christian

3A softball

Laguna Acoma, Navajo Prep, Thoreau, Tohatchi, Zuni

4A softball

Aztec, Bloomfield, Gallup, Kirtland Central, Miyamura, Shiprock, Wingate

5A softball

Eldorado, Farmington, La Cueva, Piedra Vista, West Mesa

A-5A swimming and diving

Albuquerque, Atrisco Heritage, Cibola, Cleveland, Eldorado, Farmington, La Cueva, Manzano, Piedra Vista, Rio Grande, Rio Rancho, Sandia, Santa Fe, Volcano Vista, West Mesa

5A tennis

Eldorado, Farmington, La Cueva, Piedra Vista, West Mesa

A/3A wrestling

Newcomb, Robertson, St. Michael's, Tucumcari, West Las Vegas

4A wrestling

Aztec, Bloomfield, Gallup, Kirtland Central, Miyamura, Shiprock, Wingate

5A wrestling

Eldorado, Farmington, La Cueva, Piedra Vista, West Mesa

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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