By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Say goodbye to some of the best league rivalries in recent years, including Damien-Glendora, West Covina-South Hills and Los Altos-Wilson. The 42 high schools that compete in the Mt. SAC area voted on new league alignments for 2010 on Wednesday. Glendora, South Hills and Charter Oak understandably were disappointed with the results. After Tuesday’s 4 1/2 hour meeting that took 15 votes before a proposal was finally accepted, four schools met Wednesday’s deadline to submit appeals: Charter Oak, Glendora, Rowland and South Hills.
The appeals are scheduled to be heard on May 6.
“I don’t think I want to comment on it yet,” Glendora boys basketball coach Mike LeDuc said of the new alignments shortly after the decision.
“We have to meet and decide which direction the school wants to go, and at that time, it would be more appropriate to talk about it.”
Glendora is the biggest loser in the realignment. It has been moved from the Sierra League into the more powerful Baseline League, where it will be joined by Alta Loma, Etiwanda, Los Osos, Rancho Cucamonga and Upland.
When the process began, Glendora officials were asking for relief but ended up in a more difficult league with longer road trips.
Damien is one of the big winners. The Spartans remain in the Sierra League, where they will be joined by newcomers South Hills, Charter Oak and Claremont while keeping Chino Hills and Ayala.
Greg Gano, the new football coach at Damien, said it would have made more sense to keep Glendora in the Sierra League and move Chino Hills into the Baseline League.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun going against ( Steve) Bogan and Lou (Farrar, Charter Oak coach),” Gano said.
“It worked out well for Damien, but I can understand other schools’ disappointment, like Glendora.
“In my opinion, Glendora should have stayed with us. It made more sense for Chino Hills to be in the Baseline League. This was voted on a few times. We were a vote away from being moved to the Baseline. It never comes out exactly the way you want it. We’re pleased, but I can understand why others would be upset.”
South Hills and Charter Oak would have preferred to stay in the Miramonte/San Antonio League, which now consists of Bonita, Diamond Bar, Diamond Ranch, Los Altos, Rowland, Walnut and West Covina.
From a competitive standpoint, Diamond Ranch also is a big winner and will avoid having to compete regularly against the powers of the Inland Empire.
“Diamond Ranch (sports) are going to dominate fall, winter and spring,” Charter Oak football coach Lou Farrar said. “That’s a great situation for them.
“I could sit here and complain about it, but what’s done is done. Unless there is an appeal, this is the way it is. It’s amazing; some time ago we were in the Montview League, but they continue to bump us up. I don’t think anyone has been bumped up as much and as quick as we have.”
South Hills, voted out of the Valle Vista League and into the tougher Miramonte League the last time there were realignments, got bumped up again, too.
South Hills’ Bogan welcomed the challenge of competing in the Sierra League, but wondered why principals would vote for a proposal that will further strain the school’s operating costs.
With West Covina a few blocks down the road and Walnut around the corner, South Hills now is being asked to travel to the likes of Claremont, Ayala and Chino Hills.
“This (Sierra) looks like a heck of a football league, and it’s a great challenge for us to try and compete,” Bogan said.
“But as a school, when I look at our size and the transportation costs, especially when it comes to the lower- level sports, it doesn’t make much sense.
“This is going to be a huge travel cost. The Covina school district is closing two (elementary) schools and laying off teachers. Where are we going to get the (gas) money for these additional costs, not to mention the extra time the kids have to spend traveling? There is no free lunch. The money has to come from somewhere.”
For Wilson and Nogales highs, moving from the Miramonte to the Valle Vista is the injection that could get their athletic programs going again.
Wilson and Nogales will be joined by regulars Baldwin Park, Covina, Northview, Pomona and San Dimas.
Wilson and Los Altos no longer will be in the same league, but that’s something Wilson athletic director Dave Merrill can live with.
“The bottom line is that there are always going to be unhappy people when you have a process like this,” he said.
“For the last eight years, we felt we were in a league (Miramonte) that we didn’t belong in, and our athletics suffered. It wasn’t a lot of fun. We asked for relief, we got it, and I think it’s fair.”
South Hills football coach email@example.com
(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2161