As the population of Tooele Valley grows, it is important to schedule as many high school athletic contests as possible within the valley. That task is easily achieved if Tooele, Grantsville and Stansbury high schools stay in the same classification for several years.
Next year, local rivalries will continue with all the schools competing in 3A Region 11 for a second season. But the picture is fuzzy as to what will happen after next season. The Utah High School Activities Association will re-align the state with six football classifications starting for the 2013-14 school year while all other sports will stay within five classifications.
After next year, in football there will be about 24 to 28 schools in 6A, 26 to 32 schools in 5A, 14 to 20 schools in 4A and 12 to 16 schools in 3A, according to UHSAA.
With six football classifications it is almost certain that the Tooele Valley schools will not be in the same region for gridiron when the realignment is formulated. It would be good, however, if all three schools can continue to play each other for as long as possible in the top spectator sport in Utah. It is also problematic to continue to rearrange school boundaries to keep school populations the same size considering Tooele, Stansbury Park and Grantsville’s populations may not grow at the same pace. However, the Tooele County School Board should still try to keep the schools together in the same classification if at all possible.
With all three schools in the same region we have noticed an increase in attendance for games when two of our Tooele County schools battle against each other, and we think keeping the schools in the same classification is good for several reasons.
First, it is fun because it is sublime to defeat your rival and disheartening to lose to your rival — all of which brings strong emotion to the games. Second, it saves money for the school district because trips to games are extremely shorter.
Third, it brings in more money because fans don’t have to travel long distances to see these rivalry games, so they are more apt to drive to a school which is close, pay for a ticket and watch a competitive football or basketball game.
Fourth, when one team is strong in a sport, it spurs the other schools to develop their programs to be able to compete with and defeat their rivals. Fifth, surrounding communities are more likely to build strong youth programs to help feed their favorite high schools to continue those winning traditions.
In conclusion, the rivalries being built up between the Tooele Valley high schools are good for local sports in almost every way, and have led to an unprecedented increase in fans turning out at games. We’d like to see that continue for some time to come.