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Evan Excell, executive director of the Utah High School Activities Association, has a folder - three inches thick - overstuffed with letters concerning realignment.

"It needs to be put to bed," he said as the latest every-four-years process comes to an end. "It's the single most controversial issue in the association."The UHSAA's Board of Trustees, which also acted as the realignment committee, ended 18 months of meetings, study and input Monday by fine-tuning its final proposal for acceptance.

"It's always tough," said realignment committee chairman Steven Laing of the Box Elder School District. "A solution that makes everyone happy is not possible."

Seeking a competitive balance with a minimum of time out of school, the committee opted to keep the current five classification and 16 region system. Major changes, however, are a part of the new plan that will exist from the fall of 1997 until the end of the 2000-01 school year.

"It's huge," said Excell. "It's a matter of you push somewhere and it bulges somewhere else."

Enrollment minimums have shifted the horizon and evened the classifications. Class 5A (1,700 or more students) will go from four to three leagues with 21 schools (as opposed to the current 28) meeting the new criteria. Twenty-five schools will fill three regions in Class 4A. Current 5A schools Bonneville, Fremont, Roy, Weber, Bountiful, Highland and American Fork are among the newcomers to the classification featuring enrollments from 1,150-1,699. The 3A ranks (500-1,149), which include current 4A members Bear River, Ben Lomond, Granite, Ogden and Tooele, swells from 15 schools and three regions to 22 and four. Morgan moves up from 2A, while Canyon View (set to open in Cedar City in 1997) joins Utah County's Timpanogos (Class 5A) as new additions to the association.

Against their wishes, Altamont and Duchesne were shifted to the new 2A level (160-499). Three regions replace the current two with present 1A schools Enterprise and St. Joseph also making the transfer. Smaller schools (1-159) will comprise the 1A circuit with three more evenly balanced groupings.

"It's another step in the saga torealign," said Laing. "We recognized that sometimes the turn for someone else to move comes."

Final protests were heard as Laing's realignment committee met for the last time. Cottonwood's request to reduce travel and move from a primarily Davis County region was not acted upon. Other requests denied involved Altamont and Duchesne remaining 1A; Wasatch Academy staying in a northern league; and the 1A subcommittee's plan to send Waterford into the 2A ranks.

"It's exhausting - mentally just draining," Laing said of the process. "You grapple with the problems that come up."

On Monday, the biggest problem centered around Tooele. The Buffaloes had requested to remain 4A before reconsidering and opting to go 3A. The realignment committee, however, did not appreciate the wavering.

"I think they were uncomfortable with Tooele's constant vacillation of where they wanted to be," said Laing.

Instead of placing THS in the more geographically-logical Region 7 with Bear River, Ben Lomond, Granite, Morgan and Ogden, the committee voted 8-6 to send the Buffs into Region 8 with Park City, Uintah, Union and Wasatch. Lehi, long wishing for membership in a Wasatch Front region, was the other player in the controversy. The Pioneers got what they wanted (Region 7) - for now - but the Board of Trustees planned to revisit the issue Tuesday (Details were not available at press time.) Tooele school board member Gene White pressed for the change after calling the first decision "vindictive."

Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Trustees capped the lengthy realignment process. Their decisions marked the cementing of all issues associated with the upcoming change.

"Our track record has been that until it's done," said Laing. ". . . it isn't done."



UHSAA realignment

Proposal presented for approval to the Utah High School Activities Association's Board of Trustees Tuesday by the realignment committee. Changes go into effect the fall of 1997 for a period of four years:


Region 1: Clearfield, Cottonwood, Davis, Layton, Northridge, Skyline, Viewmont.

Region 2: Bingham, Copper Hills, Granger, Hunter, Kearns, Taylorsville, West Jordan.

Region 3: Alta, Brighton, Hillcrest, Jordan, Mountain View, Orem, Timpanogos.


Region 4: Bonneville, Box Elder, Fremont, Logan, Mountain Crest, Roy, Sky View, Weber.

Region 5: Bountiful, Cyprus, East, Highland, Judge Memorial, Murray, Olympus, West, Woods Cross.

Region 6: Alpine, American Fork, Payson, Pleasant Grove, Provo, Spanish Fork, Springville, Timpview.


Region 7: Bear River, Ben Lomond, Granite, Morgan, Ogden, Tooele.

Region 8: Lehi, Park City, Uintah, Union, Wasatch.

Region 9: Carbon, Delta, Emery, North Sanpete, Richfield.

Region 10: Canyon View, Cedar City, Dixie, Hurricane, Pine View, Snow Canyon.


Region 11: Grantsville, Gunnison, Juab, Manti, North Summit, Rowland Hall, St. Joseph, South Summit.

Region 12: Beaver, Enterprise, Kanab, Millard, North Sevier, Parowan, South Sevier.

Region 13: Altamont, Duchesne, Grand, Monticello, San Juan.


Region 14: Dugway, Intermountain Christian, Mount Vernon, Salt Lake Christian, Salt Lake Lutheran, Tintic, Waterford, Wendover, West Desert.

Region 15: (North) Manila, Meridian, Rich, Tabiona; (South) East Carbon, Green River, Monument Valley, Whitehorse.

Region 16: Bryce Valley, Escalante, Milford, Panguitch, Piute, Shiloah Valley, Valley, Wasatch Academy, Wayne.