Sac-Joaquin Section in favor of league changes

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comFebruary 22, 2013 

After the Sac-Joaquin Section's third realignment meeting on Tuesday, the Western Athletic Conference may be looking at a future without Central Catholic.

And the reaction from Los Banos' two high schools is a mixed bag after the section committee voted 7-2 to move Central Catholic to the Division 3 Valley Oak League -- at least until another idea comes along that sounds better.

The proposal would place the new Merced school, El Capitan, into the WAC for two years of the four-year realignment cycle, possibly leaving a six-team WAC for two years.

"I'm not against it, but at the same time, our league took a vote last week, and they said they wanted to stay together," Pacheco athletic director Charlie Pikas said. "It wasn't clear cut -- it was a 4-3 vote. There were mixed emotions about whether we wanted to keep them or push them somewhere else.

"Based on our league voting to keep them, I'm surprised the section did what they did."

Although Central Catholic's representatives didn't speak at the meeting, Los Banos AD Joe Barcellos expects them to at the next meeting, as well as a response from the VOL.

"Of course, the VOL may come back with a 6-0 vote against it, and it may not mean anything," Barcellos said.

The driving force behind the move is Livingston -- specifically, Livingston's 77-7 loss to CC in football last fall.

"Basically (SJS commissioner Pete) Saco says, 'You're right, but as a section, we can't do anything about schools that run up the scores. As far as I'm concerned, move them up. We'll feed you Oakdale, and see how you do,' " Barcellos said. "At least that was the impression I got from the conversation."

The El Capitan move may be the sticking point for Barcellos. Scheduling for a seven-team league is easier, and the WAC's two-year scheduling cycle does not line up with the four-year realignment cycle.

Since the VOL is becoming a Division 3 league, another league in the section's north -- the Pioneer Valley League -- would become a D4 league.

The section's fourth realignment meeting is March 12.

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