Friday, July 6, 2012

Centennial: a new school, and its impact

How much of an impact will Centennial High School have on the Las Cruces sports scene?

It would be absolutely naive to say none. But time will also have to tell much of this story.

Us at the Cruces Sports Blog will try to quantify what it will mean, less than two months before the start of the high school sports season begins.

Lets just start by getting this out of the way — building an athletics program from scratch is hard. Very hard.

Centennial is playing a varsity-sports schedules this year, while competing on the Class 4A level without seniors on its respective athletics rosters. Shortly, they’ll be looking to move up the Class 5A level — the biggest classification in New Mexico.

For all intents and purposes, such moves can be daunting ones.

As far as how much such an addition to the local sports community impacts the other “big three” — Mayfield, Las Cruces High and OƱate — in town?

In the short term, it wouldn’t seem like much.

As far as upper-classmen transfers to Centennial, it doesn’t appear like stalwarts MHS and LCHS lost much in that regard. And those schools have a great deal of tradition and success — those roots run deep in town.

In sports such as football — where, once again, Las Cruces High and Mayfield carry with them a great deal of history — expect the level of play to be comparable to the past, and for their to be minimal affect in 2012. Both should be good teams, playoff teams, perhaps championship teams.

Down the road, however, such a scenario could change.

Freshman classes will now be dispersed to four schools going forward, as students — along with rosters and talent — will be further divided.

For sports like volleyball or basketball? Give a team five good players out of those respective classes — completely doable — and a competitive product is more than attainable.

Of course, football is a much different animal. It’s a sport where a program needs, not just numbers, but quality numbers — as in 25 to 30 players coming from such a class, and that might even be on the conservative side.

In other words, long term, there could be an impact on the gridiron — one where the local excellence from our local programs levels off or is diluted, even for a period of time. No, not this year, or the next, or even the one after that. Five, six, seven years from now? Such a scenario would seem possible, even realistic.

But, again, we go back to history. Good programs — along with good coaching — should remain stable. If they do drop off for a period, they should recover.

Yes, winning will still matter — for this year when the new school officially opens its doors, and the years that follow.

And that goes for all the schools and programs in town. From the ones that have been here, and for the ones that are still to come.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

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