Thursday, November 6, 2008

Time to Make a Change

Why is Claremont still part of the Baseline League? There was a time when this league was a good fit for the Wolfpack, but that was several years ago. In fact, it was only recently that Claremont won a share of the league football championship for three years in a row.

But these things change in a hurry. I remember when Claremont was part of the old San Antonio League, with Upland, Montclair, Damien, Pomona, Ganesha, Garey and Chino. I think Chaffey may have been in there at one time, and later Don Lugo came along. The league eventually split and became the Baseline League. Alta Loma was added and others dropped. Schools like Glendora and Walnut have been part of the league. Reorganization over the years added Rancho Cucamonga, Etiwanda and Los Osos. Now it’s time for Claremont to move to a different league.

The population base for the four Rancho Cucamonga schools in the Baseline League continues to grow, and even Upland has expanded, with the recent addition of the Colonies development. There are other San Bernardino County schools that would be logical matches for the Baseline League schools.

Claremont simply isn’t big enough to play with the bigger schools any more. The high school has a smaller population base than the other schools, and growth in Claremont stopped years ago. The high school accepts many transfer students from other cities just to keep up enrollment numbers, but most are there for reasons other than sports.

It has gone the point where Claremont High can’t compete with its Baseline League rivals on the field and the court. Now, it is a case where the kids are getting hurt. It seems there have been kids carted to the sidelines every game this season. Sure, that’s one of the risks of football, but there seem to be more injuries than usual.

The Wolfpack simply can’t put the numbers of players on the field to compete at the same level – at least in football. This season, Claremont was 2-3 in non-league play. All but one of those games was relatively close. Since then, CHS is 0-3 in Baseline League competition and has been outscored 145-22. The average margin of defeat is 41 points in the three games.

It’s a battle in other sports, too. CHS competes in the Baseline League in track and field, but its athletes compete in a different division than the bigger schools when they go to CIF competition. It makes sense to compete schools that are the same basic size. So why not do it during the league season – and in all sports?

I know that sports aren’t the top priority, but they are still part of the extra-curricular menu. CHS teams should be in a position to compete.

It’s definitely time to reorganize the local leagues again. There are plenty of nearby schools that have similar enrollment numbers and are in cities that aren’t growing. I suspect it might take some work for CIF-Southern Section officials to re-draw the leagues, but that’s their job.