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Prescott High football to stay in Division 3 after appeal to AIA

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier, file<br>Prescott High's varsity football program, seen from Sept. 12, 2014, will stay in D-3.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier, file<br>Prescott High's varsity football program, seen from Sept. 12, 2014, will stay in D-3.

Prescott High's football program will remain in Division 3 for at least the next four years after the Arizona Interscholastic Association's five-member Large Schools Appeals Board approved the PHS athletic department's appeal Thursday, Feb. 5, in Phoenix.

This past week in a revised proposed 2015-18 divisional realignment for its member high schools, the AIA announced plans to move Prescott football up from D-3 to D-2.

Instead, the Badgers will stay in D-3 and should maintain their regional rivalries with Bradshaw Mountain, Mingus Union, Flagstaff and Coconino.

PHS Athletic Director Mark Goligoski, who attended the appeals meeting with incoming A.D. Missy Townsend, said he was pleased with the AIA's decision.

In addition to football, Prescott filed appeals for nine other Badgers' sports programs, including baseball, boys' and girls' basketball, boys' and girls' soccer, softball, boys' and girls' tennis and volleyball.

PHS wanted all of those teams to either move or stay in D-3, across the board. Rather, five of the 10 teams will go to D-3. The other half will reside in D-2.

"Down the road, in the next couple years, these are good placements," Goligoski said. "This is good news. We're supportive. It's good for the kids and our programs."

Added Townsend, "They (AIA) made the right decision. I have no qualms about the move to Division 3 (for several PHS sports). For girls' soccer, volleyball and girls' basketball, Division 2 is the right fit (for now). In the next three years, we may move down one more."

What follows is a breakdown for these Prescott High athletic programs' final AIA placements after the appeal:

• Baseball - The Badgers will move down to D-3 from D-2, at the athletic department's request.

• Boys' basketball - PHS will drop from D-2 to D-3, starting with the 2015-16 season, in part to keep its regional rivalries intact. The AIA had originally planned to put the Badgers in D-1.

• Girls' basketball - The Badgers will stay in D-2 instead of the AIA's intention to move them up to D-1.

• Boys' soccer - Prescott, currently in D-2, will head to D-3. The AIA was slated to switch the program to D-1.

• Girls' soccer - PHS will stay in D-2 instead of moving up to D-1, as the AIA had planned.

• Softball - Prescott will drop down to D-3 from D-2, at the athletic department's request.

• Boys' and girls' tennis - The Badgers will remain in D-2 rather than go up to D-1, as the AIA had planned.

• Volleyball - Prescott will stay in D-2 rather than heading to D-1, as the AIA had intended.

Goligoski said the AIA wants to keep the Badgers' volleyball, girls' basketball and girls' soccer teams in D-2 because of their competitive strength over the past few years in that division.

Townsend added that Prescott High's enrollment is currently 1,530 students. But with recent budget cuts and charter schools continuing to eat into the school's population, enrollment could fall in the near future, and possibly affect overall participation in athletics.

In other AIA realignment news affecting tri-city area high school programs:

• Chino Valley High football will drop down to D-5 from D-4 after the AIA approved the school's appeal on Tuesday.

Follow Doug Cook on Twitter @dougout_dc

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