Over the next several months, you’ll be reading a lot about realignment and its impact on the prep sports scene.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association’s conference and region face-lifts have given state title hopes to 32 more 5A and 4A schools, making it the biggest story of this young season.
Never one to miss the latest trend, the Tribune has realigned, too.
This fall, we welcome seven new schools to the Tribune family: Coolidge, Florence, Maricopa, Brophy, Xavier, St. Mary’s and Horizon Honors, an Ahwatukee Foothills school.
Why, you ask?
To better serve our readers.
The sea of red tile roofs extending south and east away from the East Valley made expansion to Florence, Coolidge and Maricopa a no-brainer.
As the East Valley swells to the outer reaches of Maricopa County and into Pinal County, commuters inevitably will change the face of these towns, tying those communities’ identities as much with us as with their past.
Already, the communities of Queen Creek, Chandler and Ahwatukee Foothills are nearing the borders of Florence, Coolidge and Maricopa.
We’re neighbors now, so why not extend a welcome to the Gophers, Bears and Rams?
The decision to include Brophy, Xavier and St. Mary’s wasn’t as simple.
None of these schools resides within the Tribune’s circulation area and none could be considered an East Valley school — not even using the most liberal interpretation of the region.
But for years, callers have reminded us that scores of East Valley students attend these private schools where academic and athletic excellence go hand in hand.
So we asked ourselves: What is our mission?
As always, it is to serve our readers. That means we now serve the fans of the Broncos, Gators and Knights.
The East Valley has grown and we will continue to grow with it. But we don’t intend to sacrifice anything in the offing. You can still expect us to preview and cover every varsity football game involving one of our schools in our Varsity Xtra section.
You can still expect a full page of East Valley preps every Tuesday (and Friday during the winter and spring seasons).
You can still expect to find stories and issues that matter to you in the form of features, hardhitting news, notes and big picture enterprise.
In short, you can still expect the same thorough coverage that you’ve come to expect from the Tribune’s prep staff of Les Willsey, Brad Falduto, Steve Burks and newcomer Brett Fera, along with contributions from longtime writers Scott Bordow, Mike Tulumello, Matt Simpson and me.
We want to hear from you, whether it’s to report a score, tip us off to a big story or suggest ways we can improve our coverage.
So drop us a line and get ready for another season.
Nobody does East Valley preps like the Tribune. This year, we’ll just be doing even more.