STOCKTON — The Sac-Joaquin Section is closing in on a final plan after its fourth realignment meeting Tuesday.
The section moved forward with the same proposed league lineups from its Feb. 19 meeting.
Tuesday's meeting centered on three issues, one involving Placer, Bear River and Colfax from the northern part of the section. The other two issues involved Stanislaus District schools Central Catholic and Sonora.
Regarding Sonora, realignment committee member Mike Koepp the athletic director at Calaveras High, a Mother Lode League school moved that the Wildcats be placed in the Trans-Valley League for football while remaining in the MLL for all other sports. That motion was never seconded.
Sonora, a long-time member of the Valley Oak League, will be moved to the MLL under the current plan though other MLL schools have balked at that idea, fearing the Wildcats will be too dominant.
Meanwhile, Central Catholic athletic director Billy Hylla proposed his teams be moved from the Valley Oak League back to the Western Athletic Conference, but no motion was ever made on that.
"That was kind of disappointing," said Hylla's of the apparent apathy for his proposal. "I feel like they're punishing all of our athletic programs because a few are having success."
Central Catholic's football team won the state small school championship last fall, while its basketball team has been a section title contender the past few seasons. The Raiders' baseball program reached the SJS title game 13 out of 15 years between 1996 and 2010, winning 10 straight titles (2000-09).
Section Commissioner Pete Sacco says he understands Central Catholic's concerns. But in a process that is driven by marquee sports such as football and basketball, there are no easy answers.
"I understand Billy's frustrations, I really do," said Sacco. "This is my 20th year and realignment is getting tougher, not easier. From my aspect, it's very frustrating."
The realigned leagues now need approval of the Sac-Joaquin Section's 181 voting schools. If the plan carries a majority, it then goes to the section's Board of Managers (57 members) for final approval on April 24.