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I.V. schools get own CIF conference

June 16, 2002|By RICHARD MONTENEGRO

Sports Editor

On July 1 Imperial Valley high schools will bid the Southern Conference of CIF San Diego Section a fond farewell and start operations in their very own Southeastern Conference.

Since Imperial Valley schools made the jump from the CIF Southern Section to the San Diego Section in 2000, most of the Valley's high schools were lumped in one conference with a number of smaller rural schools such as Borrego Springs High and Mountain Empire in Julian. Larger Valley schools such as Calexico, Southwest, Central Union and Brawley Union highs had little in common with their eastern San Diego County brethren in the Southern Conference.

As a consequence, athletic directors and coaches across Imperial County had to contend with issues, rules, complaints and the like that had no real significance to the Valley.

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Said Southwest Athletic Director Greg Sackos: "For the large schools we're completely separate now.

"It helps our needs a bit more. Sometimes we'd go up there and spend three hours on issues that had nothing to do with us," he said, citing discussions on fielding eight-man football teams as an example.

With the new conference, Calexico High A.D. Ray Alvarado said Imperial Valley schools have a direct voice with the CIF San Diego coordinating council, "where before, anything we wanted to bring up had to go through the Southern Conference," he said.

The Southeastern Conference is made up of Brawley, Calexico, Central, Palo Verde, Southwest, Holtville, Imperial, Calipatria and Vincent Memorial highs. De Anza and William Moreno junior highs in Calexico are members because they participate in freshman sports.

Still, not all schools will make a clean break or be full members of the new conference, as some schools will still belong to the Southern Conference and the Southern Section depending on the sport.

In order to become a member of the San Diego Section, Valley schools had to be accepted into a conference. Because of location, the Southern Conference was a fit.

However, indications are a break was planned from quite awhile.

Still, becoming part of the San Diego Section no matter the conference was a big advantage for the Valley. Under the Southern Section, the Valley was but a handful of schools in a field of 600.

CIF San Diego Section Commissioner Dennis Ackerman thinks the move to create a new conference will be beneficial to all involved.

"This is a way they can govern themselves," said Ackerman. "Any time you can govern yourself, it's better. I could tell when they first joined they eventually wanted to be out on their own."

He added the San Diego Section will now have seven conferences.

Here's the Southeastern Conference broken down by sport:

In football, all schools will be represented — Brawley, Central, Southwest, Palo Verde and Calexico in the Imperial Valley League and Holtville, Imperial, Calipatria and Vincent in the Desert League.

In volleyball, one league will include Brawley, Calexico, Central, Palo Verde, Southwest, Holtville and Imperial.

In girls tennis, one league made up of Brawley, Calexico, Central, Southwest, Holtville and Vincent.

In cross country, one league of Brawley, Central, Southwest, Palo Verde and Holtville.

In basketball, Brawley, Calexico, Central and Southwest in the IVL and Holtville, Imperial, Calipatria and Palo Verde in the DL.

In soccer, one league of Brawley, Calexico, Central, Palo Verde, Southwest, Holtville and Imperial. Holtville and Imperial also will be in the IVL for girls soccer.

In wrestling, one league of Brawley, Calexico, Central, Palo Verde, Southwest and Holtville.

In baseball and softball, one league of Brawley, Calexico, Central, Palo Verde, Southwest, Holtville and Imperial.

In boys tennis, one league of Brawley, Calexico, Central, Southwest and Vincent.

In boys golf, one league of Brawley, Calexico, Central, Southwest and Palo Verde.

In swimming, one league of Brawley, Central, Southwest and Imperial.

In track and field, one league of Brawley, Calexico, Central, Palo Verde, Southwest, Holtville and Imperial.

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