ST. GEORGE — Region 9 may see a reduction by one team in the 2021-22 season. Canyon View requested to be moved to 3A and was proposed to return to Region 12 in the Utah High School Activities Association Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday.
The other seven schools in Region 9 remain unchanged.
Canyon View feels felt it was in its best interest to make a change, even if it meant widening their radius of travel to in-region opponents. The school feels that it is better to travel farther distances to play teams closer to their enrollment pool size and talent levels. Following limited success as a member of Region 9 in the three seasons it has been a member, the school is ready to return to a classification it feels it is better suited to compete in.
“When you go out there and just don’t feel like you can compete, it just takes the wind out of your sails,” Canyon View Athletic Director Kyle Robinson said. “It makes it really hard to push yourself and push your team in practice. You’re just looking for that hope, and it’s hard to keep doing that. Some of our sports really, really struggle.”
Since Canyon View joined Region 9 in the 2017-18 school year, it has posted a win/loss record of 68-207 in Region 9 play across all of its varsity sports that count wins and losses, according to available data on MaxPreps. It also includes two ties in soccer. The Falcons posted only three winning seasons: one each by boys soccer, girls soccer and softball. They have five winless seasons in regional play across all their programs. Only softball has a winning record all-time in Region 9 play, going 14-10.
The school has made some state tournaments in the past couple of seasons, but often as a low seed and rarely made any noise. It hopes a return to its Region 12 roots will spark a resurgence in its athletics program and spur on more winning ways.
Attendance figures show that Canyon View is lagging behind other Region 9 schools. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Canyon View enrolled 1,154 in the 2018-19 school year, the third-fewest of the region’s schools, ahead of Hurricane and near-new Crimson Cliffs. Among the advantages the latter two have are its proximity to St. George, which makes it easier to lure talent.
Canyon View does not benefit from the Mason Landdecks of the world, who moved from Washington state to join Desert Hills for his senior basketball season and has already committed to Division I Eastern Washington University. There is no such influx of talent to the more rural Cedar City.
In sports like football, some parents worry about safety playing schools with a bigger enrollment pool and larger sized players. Boys basketball coach Robbie Porter said he’s had players with the ability to play football at the collegiate level not participate in the sport for fear of risk of injury and missing the winter sports season.
The hope is that dropping a classification will allow more students to participate freely while producing more competitive teams.
The trade-off, however, is a lot more time on buses. Whereas Canyon View’s farthest regional rival in the previous alignment was just an hour’s drive down Interstate 15 to St. George before, the proposed alignment includes Carbon, Emery, Grand County and Richfield. For football, the 3A South region is proposed to include Carbon, Juab, Manti, North Sanpete and Richfield. Richfield, the closest opponent is more than 100 miles and an hour and a half’s drive away, according to Google Maps. Grand County in Moab is nearly four and a half hours and 300 miles. Current Region 12 team South Sevier would be the closest opponent, but it is dropping down to 2A in the latest considerations.
“There are pros and cons,” Potter said. “We spend a lot of time on buses already.”
All of this may be temporary, however. There are rumblings that UHSAA may move to region-less competition in the near future, allowing teams at the same school to compete in different classifications.
For now, the new alignment is subject to a public hearing on Dec. 16. It will be finalized for 2021-23 the following day.
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