California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Board of Managers, the governing board for high school sports, unanimously approved the realignment of the North County Conference athletic leagues.
The action creates a fourth North County Conference league, retaining the Palomar League and Valley League names while utilizing an Avocado West League and an Avocado East League.
Ramona High School, currently in the Valley League, will be in the Palomar League, effective in the 2010-11 seasons.
Ramona will be joined in the Palomar League by Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Torrey Pines and Westview for football while Rancho Bernardo will be added to the league for the other four league sports and for boys volleyball.
The Palomar League for girls lacrosse will consist of Ramona, Canyon Crest, Del Norte, Mount Carmel, Poway, Valley Center, and Westview. The conference will have 20 teams playing varsity football in 2010 and 23 teams competing in cross-country, tennis, golf, basketball, soccer, wrestling, baseball, softball, track and field, and girls volleyball. It will have 23 teams in girls water polo and girls swimming for 2010-11, adding Santa Fe Christian to the conference for those sports while deferring Mission Vista varsity competition until 2011-12, and 24 schools for boys water polo and boys swimming with Army-Navy joining Santa Fe Christian for boys aquatics. Field hockey and boys volleyball will have 19 teams in three leagues, girls lacrosse will have 14 teams in two leagues, boys lacrosse will have 12 teams in two leagues, and gymnastics will have seven teams in two leagues. The North County Conference does not offer roller hockey or badminton.
The conference considers realignment every two years. In the absence of new schools, realignment criteria is often based on factors such as geography and school size. The previous realignment was approved in 2008 and took effect for the 2008-09 seasons.
If Mission Vista chooses to have varsity football in 2011 when the school will have juniors but not seniors, the North County Conference will determine a league for the Timberwolves.
Canyon Crest will be in the North County Conference for all sports in which the Ravens participate, and San Dieguito Academy was also added to the North County Conference. Currently those two schools are in the Coastal Conference, although Canyon Crest is already in the North County Conference for water polo and swimming. An October 2007 CIF Board of Managers action formed the Frontier League for independent schools and required that all schools be in a league to be eligible for CIF playoffs.
The need to find a league for schools whose league doesn’t have specific sports led to the placement of Santa Fe Christian in the Avocado West League for aquatics while placing the all-boys Army-Navy Academy in the Valley League for boys water polo and boys swimming.
The six-person North County Conference realignment committee asked principals and athletic directors to provide the most important criteria for the new league alignments. Geographic proximity was considered most important. The second top criteria was school size and the third was competitive equity. The committee recommended the new alignments.
The Avocado West League will consist of Carlsbad, El Camino, La Costa Canyon, Oceanside, and Rancho Buena Vista for all non-aquatic four-league sports.
Avocado East League members for football will be Escondido, Fallbrook, Mission Hills, Vista and San Pasqual, and San Marcos will join the Avocado East League for all other four-league sports and for field hockey.
The Valley League will consist of Del Norte, Mount Carmel, Orange Glen, San Marcos, and Valley Center for football and Canyon Crest, Del Norte, Mission Vista, Orange Glen, San Dieguito Academy, and Valley Center for the other non-aquatic four-league sports.
Although only games against league opponents will count in the league standings, each football team will also play three cross-league games.
The North County Conference expanded to three leagues in 1998, when Valley Center High School opened. Westview became the conference’s 18th team when it opened in 2002.