High school sports

Argonauts would prefer to go “Golden”

GARDEN GROVE HIGH could be competing in the Golden West or Empire leagues by the fall of 2018. Above, Argonauts play Westminster High in 2016 game (OC Tribune photo).

By Jim Tortolano

Since 1966, Garden Grove High School has competed athletically in the Garden Grove League. That could soon be changing as schools from the Orange County area consider re-leaguing proposals, which could see the Argonauts competing in any one of three “new” leagues.

“There’s the good, the so-so and the bad,” said Ralph Stevens, athletic director for GGHS.

On Monday, representatives of the 74 schools in Orange County met to consider realignment of leagues that would take effect in the fall of 2018 and be in place for at least two school years.

Three proposals out of 60 proposals were declared to be finalists, with the decision to be made on May 8. To take effect, a re-alignment plan would have to have the backing of at least 60 percent of the schools.

The proposals include:
• moving Grove (along with Crean Lutheran of Irvine) into the Empire League, replacing Cypress and Western. The Centurions would shift to the Sunset League, with Western moving into the Golden West League;

  • moving Grove (along with Godinez and Western) into the Golden West League;
  • the dissolution of the Empire League with some of them joining a new eight-team Golden West Conference composed of two leagues.

“While our preference is to stay in the Garden Grove League,” said Stephens, “we feel we would be very competitive in the Golden West League. We line up well with all the six teams in that league.” That would be the “good” outcome, he said.

Currently, the GWL is composed of Ocean View High (Huntington Beach), Loara (Anaheim), Segerstrom (Santa Ana), Orange, Santa Ana and Westminster. The Empire consists of Kennedy (La Palma), Valencia (Placentia), Cypress, Tustin, Pacifica and Western. A transfer to the EL would be the “bad” option, as Stevens sees it.

Just “so-so” would be the proposed Golden West Conference, depending on which league the Argonauts would be competing in.

Stevens pushed back a bit against the idea that Grove should leave the GGL because it was so dominant. “That might have been true in the past, but so far this year, we’ve only won one boys’ league championship.”

Switching leagues can lead to a change in fortunes as well. Pacifica, for example, dominated the Garden Grove League in football and boys’ basketball, but since its shift to the Empire League, the Mariners have found tougher going.

But, for the time being, no one needs to pack their gym bags, said Stevens. “There could be a bunch more proposals still submitted. We’ll see what happens on May 8.”


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