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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.

Windsor will compete in the NBL I in football, boys’ and girls’ soccer, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball and softball, while the Jags’ baseball team will be in the NBL II.

Piner will be in the NBL I in boys’ basketball but all other sports will be in the NBL II. Elsie Allen and Healdsburg boys’ soccer will be in the NBL I, but other sports will be in the NBL II.

At Ukiah, the Wildcats will compete in the NBL I in football, girls’ basketball, girls’ soccer, baseball and softball. Boys’ soccer and volleyball are in the NBL II.

The El Molino Lions will compete in the NBL II in all sports.

The decisions were based on data, Smith Billing said. She tasked the athletic directors from all affected schools to look at three years’ worth of wins, losses and schedules before submitting proposed divisions for all schools.

Smith Billing credited athletic directors for taking school pride and ego largely out of the process and being honest about where certain programs stand at the moment.

“What they recognized was ‘We are really good in some sports and not so good in other sports. Let’s put it down where we can compete,’ ” she said. “It’s better for the kids. That happened across the board. It was awesome.”

“Everything we did was consensus,” she said. “It was kind of cool.”

Consensus is good because these same folks are going to be back at it every two years when teams could be moved up or down depending on their competitiveness.

“At the end of that time there will be another classification and alignment,” she said.

As for the new league names? Turns out they are old. Before the Sonoma County League came along decades ago, the leagues were called NBL I and II.

“There is a historical basis for it. It kind of continues what existed,” said Cardinal Newman principal Graham Rutherford. “I think it ties into something that is historically accurate.”

One thing is abundantly clear in the new system: Athletic directors have their work cut out for them. There are a lot of moving parts going forward.

They have even crafted an early look at a fall sports schedule for football and volleyball.

But Smith Billing said much work remains.

“My goal is every meeting that we have from this point on, we’ll invite the new ADs and hash through the bylaws,” she said. “They will have a little bit of homework every time until we have it nailed.”

“It is really a big deal,” she said.

It is indeed and some questions are arising as officials make their way through the process, like what to do with sports like track and swimming, in which coed teams train together but compete for league titles separately. What to do if one team is in the NBL I but the other in the NBL II?

And what to do with, say, badminton. where not every school fields a team? On that score, it is a strong possibility that just one league will exist and the four NBL teams and five SCL teams will compete under one banner.

But those are questions that all remain to be resolved. As does the reworking of the bylaws.

“That will take about a year,” Smith Billing said. “It’s big and we have to go through it bit by bit.”

And if all that isn’t enough, consider this. These changes occurred mid-cycle after NCS officials in April OK’d the move of American Canyon, Napa and Vintage into the section.

That mid-cycle designation is important because it means that all of this super-league stuff had to be coordinated extremely fast, and it also means that come this spring, officials will begin anew in looking at every league in the section to see if there is a better way to configure things.

Google tells me that it was Heraclitus of Ephesus who said that change is the only constant in life. Watching this process unfold, I believe him.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes and SoundCloud “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”

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