Tonight, the Ponderosa High football team plays at Natomas of Sacramento looking to improve to 4-0. Five months ago, the Ponderosa High softball team won the Delta River League crown, and played league rival Sheldon for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title game. The Bruins boys volleyball team also won the league title last spring and was one match away from playing for the section’s D-I title before losing to section runner-up Rocklin.
“Last year was a great way to end the year,” Ponderosa athletic director Tyson Escobar said.
But Ponderosa’s days of playing in the D-1 heavy Delta River League are numbered and returning to D-II starting in the 2014-15 school year appears to be 100 percent certain. Because league realignment run in four-year cycles, the Bruins have to wait as the current cycle is at the half-way point.
“We knew this was going to be a tough league right from the get go,” Escobar said.
Escobar has notified section officials requesting that Ponderosa return to D-II. Last month at a CIF meeting in Lodi, each of the section’s athletic director were given a “school result” form to fill out and return. This January, section officials and a committee consisting of athletic directors and administrators will hold a public meeting regarding league realignment. The section’s Board of Managers will cast the final vote — needing only a majority — on April 24. The next four-year cycle will run from Fall 2014 to Spring 2018.
Three areas that the section factors when it comes to league realignment, according to Assistant Commissioner John Williams are scope of the school’s athletic program, enrollment and traveling.
Most of the Bruins varsity athletic teams have finished below .500 in league play. In its previous two seasons, the varsity football team has compiled an overall record of 4-16. Ponderosa’s enrollment of 1.860 students, according to Escobar, has dropped below D-I levels. Intra-county rival Oak Ridge has an enrollment of 2,241 while all of the Delta River League schools, except Jesuit, have more than 2,000 students.
So if they depart of Delta River League, what league would the Bruins join?
One possibility is the Capital Valley Conference consisting of Del Campo and Bella Vista, Casa Roble, Oakmont, Christian Brothers and Rio Linda — most located off Highway 50 going into Sacramento. Their enrollments are similar to Ponderosa.
“I think that’s a better spot for us,” said Escobar of wanting to return to D-II. “We are the second smallest D-I school.”
In my opinion, better days are ahead for Ponderosa in D-II. More than certain Ponderosa will move into a new league.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or email@example.com. Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.