CRHS plans on moving to the 5A division in 2024-2025 school year

Football+players+take+the+field+during+to+start+the+2020-21+service+bowl.+

Photo Source: CRHS Yearbook Team

Football players take the field during to start the 2020-21 service bowl.

Kadee Haderlie, Copy Editor

Canyon Ridge High School has a high chance of moving to the 5A division in the 2024-2025 school year which means competing against larger schools. 

According to Dr. Brady Dickinson, superintendent of the Twin Falls School district, “It’s not been determined for sure at this point, but I would say that it’s likely Canyon Ridge will go to 5A.”

The plan for Canyon Ridge is to stay in the 4A division the rest of this year and next year. The following year, 2024-2024, it is likely that Canyon Ridge will go up to 5A.

5A is the largest high school division in our state. There are six divisions for high schools, 1A divisions one and two, and 2A-5A. All of these divisions are determined by a school’s student enrollment “The cutoff is 1280 students [for 4A]…Canyon Ridge went over 1280 a couple of cycles ago, and the state put into place a petition system where you could petition to stay down in a lower classification,” said Dr. Dickinson.

Every two years, schools are able to appeal to the Idaho High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) board, a board made up of fifteen representatives, to stay in a lower division even if they are over the cutoff for student enrollment. Canyon Ridge has won an appeal twice and has avoided moving up to the 5A division for four years. 

Mr. Ted Reynolds, activities director for Canyon Ridge High School and a member of the IHSAA board, said, ”[Canyon Ridge is] still growing, and I don’t think they can win [the appeal] a third time because I’m on that IHSAA board, and I know how they vote, and it’s getting harder and harder to win appeals.” 

One of the aspects IHSAA looks at with appeals is sport performance. An example of this is the football team. “Canyon Ridge made the playoffs this year,” stated Reynolds, “There are people on [the IHSAA] board that say if you’re making the playoffs, there’s no way you’re going to make the appeal.”

Twin Falls High School is also probably moving up to 5A, and having another 5A school in this region decreases Canyon Ridge’s ability to win an appeal to stay in 4A.

According to Dr. Dickinson, one of the reasons Canyon Ridge has tried to stay in 4A is the travel because there are not any other 5A schools as of right now in our area. Going to 5A may mean having to travel farther distances to play conference games for sports. “When you go to 5A, you’re going to be playing Madison, Rigby, Idaho Falls, Boise schools, so every time you have a conference game you’re going to have to take a two hour bus ride ”

Dr. Dickinson stated that Canyon Ridge would likely be in a conference with some of the eastern Idaho schools but could also be in a conference with the Boise area. This is less likely, “because there are so many 5A schools in the Boise valley that they probably won’t want to come over to Twin Falls; it’s too far. They won’t be receptive to us joining that conference in Boise, so we’ll probably have to join a conference in the east.”

There is a possibility that an individual school program, like CRHS football, can appeal to stay at the 4A division even when the rest of the school is at the 5A, especially sports where the number of participants is important. This would include team sports, but not the individual sports like track, cross country, or wrestling.

The change in division will affect many of the activities, especially sports, but does not affect all of them. The activities that already compete against multiple divisions, like band and choir, will not be affected by this change.

Drama is an example of a non-sport activity that would be affected by the change in division. Mr. Seve Isaacs, head of the drama department, said, “As far as the impact on CRHS Drama goes: we will be a small fish in a very large pond for a while…While at District Drama Competition, this won’t have a huge impact or be a huge problem for us. At State Drama Competition we will have to work extremely hard and recruit aggressively to get our team to a point where we would even be a contender for top 3 at State, let alone bringing home a State Championship banner.”

Some people are concerned that going up will have a negative effect on some school programs “We have a lot of work to do to get some of our programs to be able to go and play. The hard core reality is that if we go play [5A schools] and get killed, it’s going to hurt our programs because I don’t think kids will come,” said Reynolds. 

According to Dr. Dickinson, one benefit of moving up to the 5A division is that we might receive more coverage in the news for our activities. “[5A] is the biggest division in the state, and so sometimes they get a little more coverage in terms of news from the state.”

Dr. Dickinson said that an alternative to moving to 5A would be convincing IHSAA to increase the cutoff numbers for the division. This would mean that the number of students enrolled at a 1A-4A could be greater than it is now without having to bump up a division. He said that this is something that they have been pushing for a while but with no response or action.