Turlock Christian High will soon be moving its athletic programs out of the Southern League and into the Central California Athletic Alliance as part of the 2014 California Interscholastic Federation realignment. The move will take the Eagles from Division 6 to Division 5, but that’s not the only change for the school.
In response to the looming move, TC has announced that it will not only bring back its boys soccer program, which was eliminated this past year due to low enrollment, but it will also introduce a cross country program for the first time in school history.
“The programs at the CCAA are extremely competitive,” TC Athletic Director Shane Smith said. “We’d like to come in as a new school and be able to field teams in every sport.”
Though TC’s overall enrollment numbers are still on the low end, a surprising show of interest from students without backgrounds in sports like football and soccer spurred Smith to offer cross country and choose existing track and field coach Chris Pugh to run the first year.
“They asked us if we would consider adding a sport,” Smith said of CCAA administrators. “The interest was there and we have the coach to do it, so we said alright, let’s do it.”
As for the boys’ soccer program, initial interest seems promising but there are still roster spots to be filled.
“We want to have a program when we go into the new league. This past year we only had about five boys that were interested in playing, so we couldn’t really make it work this past year,” Smith said. “It does look like we’ll be able to have our boys’ soccer team back again. Numbers are still low, I think we had ten (kids) in our initial sign up, but there’s usually a couple more that end up playing.”
Further additions to TC athletics may continue in the winter as well as it considers adding wrestling to the mix.
The move to the CCAA is expected to affect existing athletic programs, too. The biggest change will likely come in football where the Eagles will compete against a field of teams who, like them, do not have freshman or jv programs. The all-varsity lineup among CCAA teams will even the playing field for the Eagles who have competed against SL teams with multiple levels in their football programs for years.
“The exciting thing about it, for me, is that some of our programs that haven’t had a lot of success in the past few years will be able to build themselves back up again,” Smith said. “A lot of our coaches and administrators truly believe that the move is going to be very beneficial.”