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Ripon Christian bracing for move to Southern League
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STOCKTON – Joe Daretta was all ears Wednesday morning when Sac-Joaquin Section assistant commissioner John Williams was running through the list of league placements for the upcoming realignment.

And while the massive undertaking – designed to promote parity among the schools in the California Interscholastic Federation’s  second-most populous region – will undoubtedly have positive results, it wasn’t easy for Daretta to look at what he might have to be dealing with in the years to come as the athletic director for Ripon Christian High School.

While traditionally Ripon Christian has always had success in programs such as volleyball and basketball, the Knights could possibly face Delhi, Denair, Gustine, Le Grand, Mariposa, Turlock Christian, and Waterford as part of the Southern League if the current realignment proposal passes.

“First of all there’s going to be a lot more traveling than what we faced in the Trans Valley League,” said Daretta, who also serves as the school’s varsity baseball coach. “I think that the furthest we’re going to have to travel this year one direction is 86 miles, and that’s definitely going to take its toll on our budget.

“Because of that, we’re going to have to stay closer to home when it comes to scheduling non-league games.”

With just over 250 students at Ripon Christian, the Knights would still be playing against schools that boast more than three times their own student body population.

Wednesday’s meeting  held at the Elkhorn Country Club in Stockton  was the second in a series of informational meetings to help area schools get accustomed to the realignment process and enable them to accommodate the future growth that many planners anticipate will hit the area over the course of the next several years. The new alignment of leagues will begin in 2010 and run through 2014.
The formal approval of the realignment schedule, proposed by the section office, has yet to be formally approved, and the deciding vote won’t take place until after members of the public use the forums like those provided Wednesday morning to share their concerns about what they feel should be the best way to proceed with such a large undertaking.

“We’ve got about 50 percent of those in our school that are in favor with the proposal to go to the Southern League, and the other half isn’t quite so sure,” Daretta said. “Right now we’re just waiting to see what happens.”

Earlier this month, the board met to discuss the formula for deciding playoff football teams and how they’ll be selected in the years to come – an attempt to prevent scenarios like what happened last year when teams like Manteca High finished their season 8-2 but were snubbed a playoff spot while teams like Foothill earned a berth with a 2-8 record.

Future meetings addressing each individual sport are also planned, and more information about the proposal and the documents provided during the meetings can be obtained by visiting