Welcome to the new world, prep sports fans.
This time next year, Windsor football won’t be playing Montgomery High in a North Bay League matchup. Instead, the Jaguars will line up against new league rival Analy. And no longer will Santa Rosa and Montgomery face off with the likes of Rancho Cotate and Cardinal Newman, but will take on Healdsburg and El Molino in league play.
And that’s just football.
It’s all part of the new leagues expected to be approved by the North Coast Section Board of Managers on Tuesday.
The overhaul was of course sparked last April by the decision to allow Vintage, Napa and American Canyon to join the North Coast Section. That move put in motion a series of major changes, mostly for the North Bay and Sonoma County leagues.
The most significant change, in addition to seeing Casa Grande, Petaluma and Sonoma Valley sent off to a new league with the Napa schools as well as Justin-Siena, is the creation of a so-called “super league” of 12 schools in which two tiers of competition will be established on a per-sport basis.
Last week, officials from most of the affected schools signaled their approval for the first iteration of this two-tier system which will now be called the North Bay League I and North Bay League II. If approved by the NCS Board of Managers on Tuesday, as is widely expected, the NBL I and NBL II would be in place beginning next fall.
“It’s going to happen,” said NBL commissioner Jan Smith Billing, who spearheaded the effort with school athletic directors and principals. “We wanted to front-load as much as we could.”
The more competitive squads are on the “I” side of the ledger, but both the NBL I and II will send teams to NCS postseason competition. The divisions will be re-assessed every two years.
Here is a peek at where athletic directors believe schools should compete in the eight sports addressed so far: football, boys’ and girls’ soccer, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, softball and baseball.
Analy High School will now compete with the likes of Cardinal Newman and Montgomery in every sport barring boys’ soccer, while schools like Santa Rosa and Rancho will see some of their sports compete in the NBL I while others are in the NBL II.
For example, in the plan that earned approval from principals Wednesday, Santa Rosa High’s boys’ soccer and basketball teams, as well as girls’ basketball and volleyball will compete in the NBL I. The Panthers’ football, softball, baseball and girls’ soccer will be in the NBL II.
Rancho Cotate, too, has a pretty even split with football, boys’ soccer, softball and baseball in the NBL I, while volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball and girls’ soccer are in NBL II.
“I think all of our sports were placed appropriately,” said Rancho assistant principal Henri Sarlatte.
Montgomery’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams, as well as volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, baseball and softball will be in NBL I, while football will compete in NBL II.
Cardinal Newman will be in NBL I in every sport besides boys’ soccer and softball. Maria Carrillo’s football, volleyball, girls’ soccer, baseball and softball will compete in NBL I, while boys’ soccer, and boys’ and girls’ basketball will be in the NBL II.