Published on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 by Emily Nash
UIL realigns districts every two years as they reassess school population changes. To ensure a more equal field of play in athletics, fine arts, and academic competition, the most recent change means that all four public high schools in Bryan and College Station will compete in district 18-5A next year, along with Conroe Caney Creek, Huntsville, Livingston, and Willis.
After two years of being grouped with schools two or more hours away, playing local schools will alleviate some of the travel burden in the past years.
“[The realignment] will let students get home at a decent hour and have more time to spend on homework,” Principal Lane Buban said. “Before, they were travelling to Lufkin, which was almost three hours away, in comparison to taking three in-town trips.”
Baseball coach David Powers said that for the players and coaches, playing against rivalries in town will be like playing against their brothers.
“I’m good friends with the coaches from all three of the local schools, and it’ll be good friendly competition like it is supposed to be,” Powers said.
The volleyball team already plays against Rudder, and coach Caroline Simpson is excited to see how the girls will compete with other teams in town.
“Sometimes we tend to get a little complacent when we’re in district, but with [the new] rivals we’re going to have six matches in district that will be very competitive,” Simpson said. “It will get [the team] fired up to play.”
Junior basketball player Quaylon Newton is also excited to have some friendly competition with athletes he knows, however, he doesn’t think the realignment will change the team’s spirit.
“We’re doing good this year so we’ll just carry on to next year,” Newton said. “[We plan to] keep our same high goals and [continue to] try to reach them,” Newton said. “It’s just friendly competition, I think it’ll be fun.”
Overall, Buban is excited to see the community get fired up for district competition and thinks the district realignment is a positive change that will bring local schools closer together.
“It’ll be exciting to fill the stands up with fans,” Buban said. “It’s going to be exciting.”
The realignment will also affect the district academically. UIL coordinator Rebecca Dominy said that the last realignment was difficult for Bryan and A&M Consolidated because they were new to the district, and although this transition will be easier, it still looks to be tough competition.
“I know all of the local schools are very competitive when it comes to academic UIL because of practice meets and being paired with Consol in the past,” Dominy said.
Although this was not a financial decision, assistant superintendent of business services Amy Drozd said that it would benefit the school districts economically, especially because the new district cuts travel time.
“The financial gains of less travel cost and higher gate revenue will only be a plus [for district funding],” Drozd said.
The district realignment was announced in February and will take place during the 2014-2015 and the 2015-2016 school years.