As competition begins this week, three sports undergo realignment, changing the high school sports landscape.
Golf, swimming and cross country will compete in their newly formed divisions when those seasons start Wednesday.
Across the state, cross country will be split into four divisions, and golf and swimming will go to a two-division format. Divisions are based on enrollment with Division I for the biggest schools in the state, Division II for the next group and so on.
"This thing is so new we're all still trying to work through it and make sense of it all," said Herman House, Tucson Unified School District's director of interscholastics. "We won't totally understand it until we go through it. It's tough to predict all the difficulties that will play out. Right now, my first impression is that I like the general idea."
The reclassification is part of a larger plan the Arizona Interscholastic Association adopted in May to reduce the number of state championships, limit travel and curb costs. The new rules will take effect this fall for all individual sports and three team sports: badminton, boys tennis and girls tennis. The AIA's 17 other team sports will adopt the new system next fall.
Advancing to a state tournament or championship is the biggest change athletes will face. Golfers and swimmers must reach quali- fying standards (available at aiaonline.org). Cross country runners can qualify based on their finish at a sectional meet. The AIA will announce the sections Sept. 17.
"At first, it all seems pretty confusing," Cholla athletic director Gus Brisco said. "There was a lot of work that had to go into this in order to make it work. It does seem like in the individual sports it was easier to compete and qualify for state when we were in classes.
"Under the old format it was easier to get more athletes to state, rather than just having to hit a mark."
where they're at now
New divisions beginning this week in cross country, golf and swimming and diving:
Desert View, Rincon/University, Salpointe Catholic, Sierra Vista Buena, Sunnyside, Tucson
Canyon del Oro, Catalina Foothills, Cholla, Cienega, Flowing Wells, Ironwood Ridge, Mountain View, Marana, Nogales, Pueblo, Sahuaro
Amphitheater, Catalina, Douglas, Empire, Palo Verde, Rio Rico, Sabino, Sahuarita, Santa Rita
Academy of Tucson, Pusch Ridge Christian, San Miguel, St. Gregory College Preparatory, Tanque Verde
Swimming and diving
Buena, Canyon del Oro, Cienega, Desert View, Flowing Wells, Ironwood Ridge, Marana, Mountain View, Pueblo, Rincon/University, Salpointe Catholic, Sunnyside, Tucson
Amphitheater, Catalina, Catalina Foothills, Cholla, Douglas, Palo Verde, Pusch Ridge Christian, Sabino, Sahuaro, Santa Rita, St. Gregory, Tanque Verde
Buena, Desert View, Ironwood Ridge, Mountain View, Pueblo, Salpointe Catholic, Sunnyside, Tucson
Canyon del Oro, Catalina, Catalina Foothills, Cholla, Cienega,Douglas, Flowing Wells, Nogales, Palo Verde, Sabino, Sahuarita, Sahuaro, Santa Rita, St. Gregory (girls)