The Utah High School Athletic Association met Dec. 3 to finalize region assignments for the next two years. The decisions made that day split Alta and Jordan from a long-standing region rivalry.
Under the new alignment, Jordan will stay in 5A’s Region 3, while Alta will move down to 4A and compete in Region 7.
“Jordan has always been a fun, healthy rivalry for us,” Alta athletic director Morgan Brown said. “It was competitive for us, partially because years ago we were split from the Jordan area, so the students knew each other.”
Brown hopes that same feeling will carry over into the new region, as Corner Canyon is in the same region as Alta.
“Corner Canyon split from us two years ago,” Brown said. “We are still rebounding from that split, sort of like Jordan did when we split from them.”
Alta lost a large part of its student base when Corner Canyon opened. The split caused Alta’s enrollment to drop from near the top of the 5A student size to almost the bottom of 4A classifications.
At one point, it looked like Jordan was going to join Alta in the 4A ranks. Jordan’s enrollment has also dropped, and the UHSAA had at first placed it in 4A’s Region 7 with Alta. But Jordan was at the top of the 4A enrollment size and petitioned to move back to 5A.
“There is a rule that says anyone within 5 percent of either side of the cutoff is considered tied,” Jordan Principal Tom Sherwood said. “When they first put out the proposal, it was based on numbers. I was the only school to ask to go up from 4A to 5A but three asked to come down.”
With several schools wanting to be moved to 4A, the UHSAA allowed Jordan to stay in 5A.
“We were able to stay in the region we are currently in,” Sherwood said. “We enjoy the competition we have had in the region. Plus, it is geographically close. It allows for community participation both here and away and helps us hold down transportation costs.”
One of the biggest losses for Alta is the football rivalry that has existed over the past 12 years. Until last year, the annual game between the two schools was usually decided by less than 10 points, and both teams won their share of the games. Attendance became so large the game was moved to Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah, and it was named as one of the nation’s top rivalry games.
But with Alta’s enrollment size cut by Corner Canyon and Bingham continuing to grow, the rivalry was becoming lopsided.
“The size that Bingham is and the size we are now makes it hard to compete with them anymore,” Brown said. “Our players still have the desire to take them on, but we do belong in 4A at this time.”
Brown is happy with the region Alta has been placed as he sees it to be competitive.
“We have Timpview in our region,” he said. “They have been the best 4A football team for several years. It is going to be a fun, competitive region from top to bottom.”