Jummel Hidrosollo / Special to the Home News
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 | 11:58 p.m.
There was once a time when The Meadows' boys basketball team could squeak into the playoffs with a losing league record.
Last year, for instance, The Meadows went 2-6 in the 2A Southern League but still qualified for the regional tournament.
With three new opponents in the league this season, however, it will take more to make the postseason.
The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association moved three Las Vegas schools — Agassi Prep, Calvary Chapel and Mountain View — from 1A to 2A this fall to give the league eight teams.
"It's certainly a good thing because it adds some legitimacy to the league," The Meadows basketball coach Gary Hanning said. "It makes every game important. It's not going to be easy to get into the playoffs this year."
The moves were made because of enrollment numbers, NIAA Assistant Director Donnie Nelson said, as each school fits in or near the 2A's enrollment standard of 170 to 460 students.
Coupled with the Northern League, the 2A has 17 teams competing in football, baseball, softball, volleyball and basketball. Class 2A cross country, golf and wrestling includes the 1A, while soccer combines the 1A, 2A and 3A.
"There is a better balance between northern and southern schools and that certainly makes it easier," Nelson said. "But the alignment is all based on data, and right now that is enrollment."
Class 2A President Bill Darrow said the new 2A is popular with coaches because they have more league games on their schedule.
The 2A is more competitive than the 1A, for schools with up to 169 students, while there are more teams than in the 3A, which features 11 schools in its 461 to 1,200 enrollment standard.
And it sure beats competing in the 3A Southern League, which will only have three schools next fall when Faith Lutheran moves to the 4A.
"It's much better but it's not where it could be," Darrow said. "There are a lot of 1A schools that could beat the 2A schools. I think it would help to include some of those schools."
While the new 2A schools may be a few years away from championships, they have proven to be competitive.
Mountain View, which went 7-3 in 1A eight-man football in 2007, made it to the 2A state semifinals last November playing 11-man football.
Mountain View football coach Raymond LeBoeuf said competing in the 2A got his team more looks from college recruiters because the league is more challenging.
"Every league game is going to be competitive," LeBoeuf said. "That's not always the case in the 1A. You get some teams that are extremely good in one sport and then they won't even field a team in another."
The Meadows running back Pat Kenny, who has competed on 2A varsity for four seasons, was surprised to see the new teams be competitive, even if Calvary Chapel and Agassi Prep struggled at the beginning of the season.
The added competition seemed to give The Meadows state title in football extra credibility, too.
"I think it made it more meaningful," Kenny said. "It means more of a challenge, but that's the name of the game."
Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.