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Boys, girls teams will stick together in track, swimming

Proposals that ensure a school’s boys and girls teams will be placed in the same classification in track and field and swimming and diving were approved by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Realignment Committee.

At a meeting Wednesday at Faith Lutheran, the committee unanimously approved the proposals for track and swimming for the upcoming two-year cycle, which begins this fall.

In the past two realignment cycles, the NIAA reclassified schools on a sport-by-sport basis, and boys and girls teams were placed separately for track and swimming. The only other sports in which boys and girls teams are aligned in the same class are tennis and bowling.

Tyrel Cooper, Amplus Academy athletic director and Southern Nevada track and field coordinator, and Teresa Schultz, a Mojave swim coach and board member of Southern Nevada swimming and diving coaches association, presented proposals for their respective sports to the committee.

They said schools often have one head coach for the boys and girls teams, and it creates a challenge if meets, especially regional and state meets, are in different locations.

“When a team is split between the 4A and 5A, or 4A and 3A, they have to make choices as to where their coaching staff is going to,” Cooper told the committee. “We don’t want to make changes just to make life easier for coaches. It’s really important to the kids as well.”

In track and field, 10 schools would be in 5A South: Liberty, Shadow Ridge, Faith Lutheran, Centennial, Palo Verde, Bishop Gorman, Canyon Springs, Foothill, Legacy and Coronado.

Canyon Springs’ appeal to remain in 4A was not approved.

The committee’s original proposal had 12 Southern schools in 5A. Sky Pointe and Green Valley’s boys teams and Basic and Arbor View’s girls teams dropped down to 4A.

Ten schools would make up 5A South for swimming and diving: Palo Verde, Coronado, Faith Lutheran, Arbor View, Bishop Gorman, Liberty, Centennial, Desert Oasis, Shadow Ridge and Clark.

Fourteen boys teams and 11 girls teams were in 5A in the committee’s original proposals. Sierra Vista, Green Valley and Tech’s boys teams and Doral Academy’s boys and girls teams dropped to 4A.

Also at the meeting, the Arbor View, La Vegas and Spring Valley baseball teams’ appeals to move up from 4A to 5A were unanimously approved.

Fourteen Southern Nevada schools will now make up 5A South: Bishop Gorman, Basic, Desert Oasis, Faith Lutheran, Shadow Ridge, Centennial, Coronado, Green Valley, Foothill, Liberty, Palo Verde, Arbor View, Las Vegas and Spring Valley.

Cheyenne and Desert Pines’ appeals to move from 4A to 3A in baseball failed due to a lack of a motion.

The committee also approved postseason formats for spring sports. All eight spring sports will have Northern and Southern leagues in 5A, the top classification.

The realignment proposals and tournament formats are still pending final approval from the NIAA Board of Control, whose summer meetings will be held June 14 and 15.

Transfer bill dies

A Nevada Senate bill that would have created a one-time transfer rule for Nevada high school athletics, similar to college athletics, was not passed by lawmakers.

Senate Bill 114, which asked the NIAA to make students immediately eligible for all athletic activities after their first transfer from one school to another, was unanimously passed by the Senate on April 25.

The bill was discussed in the Assembly but was not brought to a vote. The Nevada Legislature session concluded earlier this week.

Under current NIAA rules, a student who transfers to a different school is ineligible to compete in varsity sports for 180 school days. Students can compete in subvarsity sports. Students can apply for a hardship waiver to be immediately eligible if their residential zone changes.

The bill originally asked the NIAA to grant immediate eligibility to students who transfer to a public charter or magnet school. State Sen. Edgar Flores, D-Las Vegas, added four amendments, including one that adds “a one-time eligibility provision across the board” for private and public schools.

Senate Bill 196, which would allow for a fifth year of eligibility for NIAA events, was passed by the Assembly on May 26.

SB196 says students who were in high school during the state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic are granted an extra year of eligibility. Current sophomores, juniors and seniors would have 10 semesters of eligibility.

The bill is pending final approval from Gov. Joe Lombardo.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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