Updated April 15, 2020 - 2:41 pm
One of the most successful boys basketball programs in the state in recent years will probably not make the jump to the new Class 5A next season.
Clark was originally placed in that classification but successfully appealed to play in 4A at last Thursday’s NIAA Realignment Committee meeting. The recommendations for winter sports realignment made by the Realignment Committee will be sent to the Board of Control for approval at its meeting April 23.
The decision was based on principal Kerry Lannerd’s assertion that Clark’s boys basketball program “is not now what many have come to know, and that this past year’s performance demonstrates that fact,” according to the meeting’s minutes.
Clark won three straight 3A state championships from 2014-16 and reached the 4A title game in 2017 and 2019. But the Chargers fell to 6-18 last season, including a 2-10 record in Southwest League play.
While Clark was appealing to move down, Palo Verde was granted its plea to be moved into 5A for boys basketball.
The Panthers shared the 4A Mountain League championship with Arbor View last season with a 10-2 mark. They were 21-7 overall, and a Palo Verde athletic administrator said that performance continued a recent trend of improvement that demonstrated it could compete in the highest classification.
Green Valley also appealed to be moved up to 5A in boys basketball and bowling, based on a belief that schools should be aligned based upon enrollment instead of the competitive balance rubric the NIAA employs. Those appeals were denied.
The final recommendation calls for boys basketball to have 20 teams in two leagues in 5A, 21 in four leagues in 4A and 22 in four leagues in 3A; girls basketball will have 21 teams in two leagues in 5A, 18 in two leagues in 4A and 22 in four leagues in 3A. Class 2A and 1A’s alignments are based upon enrollment.