Revised rankings jumble things up for new school year

FRUITLAND

File photo
Shiprock’s Arron Lee (22) and Lennard Hoskie (3) go up for a rebound against Navajo Prep’s Lance Morris (5) on Jan. 25. Shiprock will be competing with Aztec, Bloomfield, Gallup, Kirtland Central and Miyamura in District 1-4A for the next two years while Navajo Prep will compete in District 1-3A with Crownpoint, Thoreau, Tohatchi, Wingate and Zuni.

As New Mexico high school sports programs prepare for the 2018-2019 season, coaches are slowly warming up to the changes that come with it.

New Mexico High School Activities Association released the classification and realignment for two upcoming school years: 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

While the changes in classification and districts are an easy adjustment for some, others are bracing themselves for challenging seasons to come.

In District 1-4A sees one of the more significant changes as it welcomes five programs that previously competed in the 5A level. Shiprock was the sole school to remain in the district.

Aztec, Bloomfield, Gallup, Kirtland Central and Miyamura have moved down to District 1-4A and will compete with Shiprock.

Shiprock boys basketball head coach Chester Atcitty said the change will make for some interesting competition.

“In the realignment itself, it’s definitely going to be more competitive in boy’s basketball. It’s going to be tough to go 10-0 with six teams in our district, including ourselves,” he said.

“It’s just going to be very competitive.”

Atcitty said while all the boys’ basketball teams in the new alignment are competitive, there are a certain few to look out for.

He said he expects Gallup, Kirtland Central, Aztec, and even Bloomfield to bring some heat.

“Gallup, they’re pretty stacked from last year, and they have a lot of veterans comes back. They’re going to be awesome competition,” Atcitty said. “Kirtland, although they lost quite a bit, at the same time they just always step up and play. Aztec, they just managed to really step up and play well against us these last few years.”

While it might seem as if the level of competition remains the same, Atcitty is certain that it will increase.

He said most of the 5A schools have bumped down to 4A, including defending 5A state champions Belen.

“It’s just a matter of stepping up to the plate, going down and play good basketball,” Atcitty said. “It made it very competitive, a lot tougher, it’s just the way the cards fell according to our study body count. It is what it is, we just go to step up and play.”


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Categories: Basketball

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com or via cell at (505) 686-0769.