Aram Tolegian’s winners and losers column …. What’s your take?
Now that everyone’s had a couple days to digest the outcome of the CIF Southern Section’s Mt. SAC Area re-leaguing vote this week, it’s time to look at who were the winners and losers.
The newly structured leagues won’t kick in until the 2018-19 school year, but already there’s plenty of conclusions to be made. Remember, league placement is more critical than ever in terms of CIF-SS playoff success.
In football, playoff divisions are now determined by competitive equity and not league placement. The same with basketball. So, where you finish in league is critical since simply making the playoffs could mean a big postseason is in the offing.
WINNER — South Hills baseball. This is probably the most obvious in the area. The Huskies are already the top baseball program in the area, but even this year’s results show that it doesn’t mean they’re infallible.
South Hills has lost Palomares League games to Bonita and Glendora this season, but won’t have to see those teams anymore when they join the Hacienda League. Who’s going to beat them in the Hacienda? Charter Oak is decent. Walnut is solid. But yeah, it ain’t happening.
The Huskies can likely coast through league, inflate their record at the perfect time of year and posture nicely for a high seeding from the playoff committee. A high seeding matters in the Division 1 playoffs — where South Hills currently is — because you’re looking for any little advantage possible at that level.
LOSER — South Hills football. The Huskies are exiting the Palomares League where they were around the top of the heap and now heading to the Hacienda League, which is the toughest football league in the area.
Area powers Charter Oak and Los Altos play in the league and West Covina has owned South Hills recently in the Kings of Cameron rivalry. Throw in Diamond Ranch and you can see how much of a challenge this will be.
For fans, it will be great to see South Hills play Charter Oak every year and have the West Covina game mean something more than bragging rights. South Hills is a program on the rise, but it better really pick up the pace now.
WINNER — Diamond Bar. Not bad for a first-year principal. Ruben Jones, Diamond Bar’s new man in charge, had one mission at Tuesday’s meeting and that was to get his school out of the Palomares League and into something more doable. Mission accomplished.
Jones took the microphone at one point during the meet and made his case the other school representatives as to why Diamond Bar so badly needed relief across the board. He also worked the room. It paid off with Diamond Bar now headed to the Mt. Baldy League where travel may be slightly more hectic, but competitive equity will be much better.
LOSER — Walnut football. The Mustangs football program just can’t catch a break. Walnut is more than fine in the Hacienda League in terms of just about every sport but football. Help is not on the way, however.
The Hacienda League is the area’s toughest football division. Walnut had just 12 freshmen come out for football last season and had to combine its freshmen and sophomore programs. To further put things in perspective, the CIF-SS has placed Walnut in Division 12. That’s right, a Hacienda League team is in the second-lowest division in the section.
But that division placement doesn’t matter if Walnut can’t make the postseason. And without finishing in the top three in league, that’s just not likely to happen for the Mustangs. There were proposals for a football-only scenario, but it didn’t get enough support.
Walnut now has to figure out a way to simply stay solvent until the next re-leaguing vote, which won’t kick until after the next three school years are completed.