Note: Every two years, the Utah High School Activities Association dives into the arduous process of realigning all of its member institutions into classifications.
The goal is to make the competition level as even as possible, even though there will always be leagues that are deeper in some sports.
The latest realignment added a sixth classification and now Utah Valley has schools competing in every division.
Here is a brief look at what to anticipate for Utah Valley teams in their new classifications in the upcoming fall season. What to expect in the fall sports was published on Friday and a look at the winter sports was published on Saturday.
Class 6A: Lone Peak lost to Cottonwood in the 5A title game this year. The Knights return Colton Easton, Crew Robinson, Kobe Freeman and Tom Bateman and that should help Lone Peak continue to be one of the top teams in any classification. Lone Peak beat Bingham to get to the title game. Now the two teams will be in the same region, along with American Fork and Pleasant Grove, making the new Region 4 the best in 6A.
Class 5A: Timpanogos is the two-time defending champs and even though the Timberwolves were hit hard by graduation, they still return a core of talent that includes Derik Eaquinto, one of the top pitchers in the state. Skyridge proved to be a program on the rise when Ryan Roberts took a first-year program and not only made the playoffs but won its first two playoff games.
Class 4A: Spanish Fork, Salem Hills and Lehi should thrive in 4A. The Dons lost to Timpanogos in the 4A title game this year and return Cy Nielson, one of the state’s top pitchers. The Skyhawks have a future star in Kyle Coburn, who will be a sophomore next year. The Pioneers lost the bulk of its pitching but should have enough returning talent to remain a playoff contender.
Class 3A: Carbon and Juab were both playoff teams last year but both lost in the first round. Both teams are now in Region 14 with Delta, Maeser, ALA, Providence Hall and Union.
Class 2A: Rockwell will be hoping to build on the momentum it gained from qualifying for the playoffs in 2017 with a 6-6 region record.
Class 1A: Tintic made the playoffs last year and won its first-round game before losing to Panguitch. Telos also made the playoffs.
Class 6A: Bingham figures to be the class of the new Region 4 based on last year’s 26-8 overall record. Pleasant Grove made the playoffs as a No. 4 seed last year but got 10-runned in its first two playoff games. American Fork and Westlake both missed the playoffs last year but should be ready to compete for postseason play next year while Lone Peak continues to rebuild.
Class 5A: Maple Mountain and Springville should be ready to take advantage from the realignment now that Spanish Fork is no longer in the same region. Timpanogos is hoping to ride the momentum of winning its first-round playoff game for the first time in 10 years.
Class 4A: Spanish Fork has won three straight 4A softball titles and should continue to dominate but Uintah, the team the Dons beat in this year’s championship game is still in their region.
Class 3A: Juab made a nice run in the state tournament last year (fifth) and won over 20 games. The Wasps should be able to take advantage of a region that consists largely of teams moving up from 2A.
Class 2A: Rockwell watched its bid for a playoff spot disappear on the final day of region play but the team still won five region games and should be in a position to contend for a playoff spot moving forward.
Class 6A: Although Lone Peak, Pleasant Grove and American Fork have put together some good soccer teams, none of the Region 4 teams have won state since the Knights won the 4A title in 2005. This league has to find a way to consistently get teams farther in the playoffs.
Class 5A: Maple Mountain, Wasatch and Timpview have enjoyed some soccer success, but being in a classification with Alta, Brighton, Bountiful, Viewmont and Olympus is sure to present plenty of challenges.
Class 4A: Orem, Mountain View and Lehi have the stronger soccer traditions in Region 10, but Juan Diego and Ridgeline have won titles recently. This division could be crowded at the top.
Class 3A: ALA has had its greatest successes in this sport, winning the 2A crowns in 2013 and 2015. With its young talent, the Eagles should be confident in their ability to compete against other 3A teams.
TRACK AND FIELD
Class 6A: American Fork and Lone Peak have had some talented teams and should continue to be strong in their best areas. The addition of Bingham will increase the league competition, while Davis and Herriman will be some of the top teams in the classification.
Class 5A: With Springville, Maple Mountain, Skyridge, Timpview, Timpanogos, Olympus and Box Elder all in this division, state tournament meets could be thrilling free-for-alls where championships will be decided at the very end.
Class 4A: The St. George high schools which have been so good in 3A now will have to contend with Orem, Mountain View and Salem Hills. Don’t underestimate Park City, Juan Diego or the Logan-area schools, either.
Class 3A: Delta, ALA, Maeser and Juab should push each other in Region 14 competition with the winners gunning to state-title glory.
Class 2A: Merit and Rockwell will look to continue to get athletes qualified to state and superlative performances in the 2A ranks.
Class 1A: Tintic has featured some phenomenal athletes like Bailey Wall in 2017 but will face challenges in competing for the team title.
Class 6A: Lone Peak hold off Bingham (19 to 17) to win the 5A championship in 2017. Now both teams will be in the same region. Pleasant Grove finished seventh last year and American Fork was eighth.
Class 5A: Timpview finished second (to Skyline) in 4A in 2017. The T’Birds have traditionally been strong and they should be able to continue do contend for a state title.
Class 4A: Salem Hills was third in the 2017 tournament. Payson tied for fifth and Maple Mountain and Orem both scored three points and should be able to get players qualified.
Class 3A: North Sanpete was the only team that scored in the 2017 tournament. Maeser moves up from 2A after scoring just one point in last year’s 2A tournament.
Class 2A: Merit, Rockwell and APA Draper and APA are all part of the new Region 17.
Class 6A: Lone Peak and Bingham won the last two team titles have earned their places as perennial contenders. Westlake, American Fork and Pleasant Grove will need to continue to improve to challenge the Knights and the Miners.
Class 5A: Corner Canyon appears poised to establish itself as the top team in 5A but Alta, Timpview, Provo and Bountiful have had excellent seasons of girls golf as well.
Class 4A: Orem has a number of talented golfers but the Tigers face the tough task of competing against Desert Hills, Park City and Dixie.
Class 3A: Delta was fourth in 2A in 2017 but it will take some significant progress for other local teams to compete for championships in the new 3A.