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Section proposes move for Lathrop, Ranch
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Manteca Unified schools will be split up for the 2018-2022 alignment cycle, if the Sac-Joaquin Section has its way.

The section held its first of a possible five realignment meetings Wednesday at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton, revealing a proposal that would have Lathrop and Weston Ranch leave East Union, Manteca, Sierra and the rest of the Valley Oak League behind for the Western Athletic Conference. Manteca Unified administrators have previously balked at a suggestion for its smallest high schools to move out of the competitive VOL and into one with schools closer to their enrollment size.

The SJS wants to maintain its seven-division format while adding a new Division IV league — comprising of Sacramento-area schools — that would give it a total of 27. The aim is to reconfigure leagues according to competitive equity. 

The VOL is one of the section’s most accomplished leagues in medium-school divisions, and the section contends it would remain so under its current proposal. The biggest changes in this half of the section would involve the Modesto Metro Conference, VOL and WAC.

East Union, Manteca, Sierra, Central Catholic and Oakdale would remain in the VOL, which would add Beyer and Downey from the MMC and Patterson of the WAC. Patterson would be the largest school in the league. That means more time on the road for area schools. Kimball of Tracy, meanwhile, joins the San Joaquin Athletic Association while its city rivals, Tracy and West, stay put in the Tri-City Athletic League.

Weston Ranch is projected to be the smallest school in the new WAC, where it joins Lathrop, Ceres, Grace Davis (MMC), Johansen (MMC) and Mountain House (Trans-Valley League). Davis and Johansen have the highest enrollment in this group but haven’t been competitive in most sports.

Ripon remains in the TVL with traditional rivals Escalon, Hilmar Hughson and Modesto Christian. On their way out would be Mountain House and Riverbank with Linden (MLL) and Orestimba (Southern League) coming in. Modesto Christian’s highly-successful boys and girls basketball teams would compete in the Division I TCAL.

Ripon Christian would stay in the Southern Athletic League along with Delhi, Gustine, Le Grand, Mariposa and Waterford while its basketball teams continue to play in the TVL. Riverbank replaces Orestimba and Denair, which have outgrown the rest of the schools in the SAL.

The next realignment meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 12 at The Reserve. Future meetings are set for Jan. 26, Feb. 9 and, if necessary, March 9.