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NIAA to feature three state tournaments in girls golf on trial basis

For the first time since 2004, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association will crown a girls golf state champion in Class 2A this season, although considerable doubt remains about the long-term viability of the idea.

The move is only a two-year commitment as the NIAA tries to determine how many girls golf programs can endure at the 2A and 1A levels.

“It’s worth trying for a two-year commitment to see if 2A can sustain itself,” said Donnie Nelson, assistant director of the NIAA. “It’s so we can get a good understanding of how many teams we have in 2A.”

Whereas 3A, 2A and 1A schools have competed at the same state tournament since 2005, this postseason will see separate state tournaments for 4A, 3A and 2A/1A teams.

The last girls golf team to win a 2A state title was Wells in 2004, and no girls golf teams from Southern Nevada ever have won one, according to NIAA records.

Although it was uncertain as school started just how many girls golf programs plan to compete at the 2A and 1A levels this season, several coaches indicated that the 2A/1A field could be comprised entirely of Northern Nevada schools.

Faith Lutheran coach Mark Cheney, whose team competes at the 3A level, said there are likely to be no 2A teams south of Ely.

For 2A and 1A schools to compete in an NIAA-sanctioned state tournament, nine total programs must be eligible, Nelson said.

“I don’t know if we have nine full teams,” Nelson said.

But Boulder City coach Regina Quintero, whose team competes in 3A, is optimistic that a 2A/1A field could sustain itself.

Quintero is glad the 2A/1A pool has the potential to expand because that, in turn, eventually could benefit the 3A field, which will be down to only three teams in Southern Nevada once Faith Lutheran elevates to 4A for 2009-10.

“If we could bring some new schools in, that’s always better,” Quintero said.

The 2A/1A state tournament will be held from Oct. 20 to 21 in Northern Nevada, although a course still is in the works, according to the NIAA’s Web site.

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