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Schools to face new NMAA landscape

By Todd Fuqua

There were plenty of things to discuss at the monthly NMAA director’s meeting, Nov. 30 in Albuquerque, but just one thing was really on everyone’s mind.

Re-alignment.

Every two years, the NMAA shakes up its classification and district alignments based on enrollment numbers, and this meeting proved to bring some huge changes for the 2018-20 block.

The board voted to shrink the number of classifications from six back down to five in all sports except football starting next year, and there are a number of schools moving up and down and all around in every sport.

All decisions are still open to appeal from schools and athletic directors.

Football

Starting with football, the re-alignment in Class 4A shrinks from five to four districts, with Ruidoso now in District 3-4A with Lovington, Moriarty and Portales.

Hope Christian and NMMI will both move down a class to 3A.

One team that’s on the outs in 4A football is Silver, which finds itself as the only 4A football school in the southwest corner of the state and the only 4A member in District 4-4A.

This pretty much means the Colts are guaranteed a spot in the State playoffs each season, but they’ll have to play a majority of their games against 3A or 5A teams.

Another interesting development is the movement of Las Vegas Robertson, West Las Vegas and St. Michael’s to 3A. All three football teams were in the State quarterfinals this year, with Robertson playing Ruidoso this weekend for the 4A State title.

Capitan has dropped in size and class, moving to Class 1A and joining district 3-2A with Estancia, Lordsburg, Cloudcroft and Mescalero.

Those last two schools were in eight-man this season, returning to the 11-man ranks in 2018.

Carrizozo has dropped from eight-man to six-man, thrown into a western district with defending champion Animas, Hondo, New Mexico School for the Deaf, Reserve and Vaughn.

Major changes

Basketball, volleyball and track all have the same alignments in all classifications, but they’re radically different from that of football at the smaller class sizes.

That includes 4A, which sees Ruidoso move back west to play more traditional district foes Silver, Santa Teresa and Chaparral. It’s the same story for baseball, softball, golf, tennis, soccer and wrestling.

Portales, meanwhile, joins Lovington, Artesia and Goddard in a southeastern district that recalls the glory days of District 4-3A before the NMAA first moved to five classes in 2000.

In Class 2A, Capitan’s district will be almost identical to football, with Mesilla Valley joining the fray.

In Class 1A, Carrizozo, Corona and Hondo will once again be district foes with Mountainair and Vaughn – pretty much a reconstitution of the old Bean Valley Conference.

Other sports

In baseball and softball 2A Capitan finds itself facing Estancia, Lordsburg, Magdalena and Mesilla Valley.

Capitan and Mescalero’s cross country teams will be in a massive district with 11 other schools listed, although not every school may have a cross country program every year.

That district would include traditional foes like Cloudcroft and Hagerman, but would also stretch all the way across the state to include Quemado and Reserve.

Ruidoso’s harriers face a similar situation in 4A, running against Goddard, Artesia and Lovington in the east and Chaparral, Santa Teresa and Silver in the west.

School size

Also included in the NMAA packet is a listing of every school by enrollment size. Of the 160 schools listed, Ruidoso came in at 59 with an average enrollment of 552 students.

That’s just slightly more than NMMI, St. Michael’s, Socorro, West Las Vegas and Robertson, all of which are moving down in class size.

Corona has the distinction of being the smallest school in Lincoln County and almost the smallest school in the state.

Only Oak Grove Classical, Mosquero, Wagon Mound, New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Handicapped and Roy have smaller enrollment figures provided by the NMAA.

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