Camarillo, Oak Park to join league, which will split in 2014

Boy are trying to get the ball.
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Camarillo High boys’ basketball senior Ardavan Seif, center, fights for possession of the ball against Rio Mesa. ACHS and Oak Park are set to join the Marmonte League in 2014. The change could spell the end of the Camarillo-Rio Mesa rivalry. © Michael Coons/Acorn Newspaper
The releaguing game of Snakes and Ladders took another detour.

CIF-Southern Section Northern Area principals voted on Monday to alter the landscape of local sports leagues for a four-year cycle starting in 2014-15.

Oak Park and Camarillo high schools will join the eight current Marmonte League teams. The Marmonte League will split into two leagues for all sports.

Agoura, Calabasas, Moorpark, Newbury Park and Oak Park will be in the same league. Camarillo, Royal, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and Westlake will be in another league.

Those 10 schools will be part of a football association. It is unknown how the teams will be divided.

The Northern Area deliberated for almost five hours on Monday in Santa Barbara, whittling down 35 proposals to one.

“Everybody had to compromise,” Moorpark athletic director Rob Dearborn said. “It’s not perfect, but we can live with it.”

The Musketeers preferred being part of a six-team league.

Agoura’s proposal, which the Chargers almost shelved upon arriving at the meeting, went through, according to AHS athletic director Jason Rosenthal.

“It wasn’t our first choice,” he said. “We almost pulled it when we got there. . . . It’s got good sides and bad sides. It’s a good compromise. It’s better than being stuck with the eight team status quo.”

Oaks Christian is challenging a previous decision by the section to move into a parochial league for all sports. The Lions want to remain in the county.

Oak Park, who will exit the Tri- County Athletic Association, will have an uphill battle competing against bigger Marmonte schools. The Eagles don’t field swimming, water polo or wrestling teams, and many current sports don’t have three teams (freshman, junior varsity and varsity).

“We will need to make some changes,” said Dick Billingsley, Oak Park’s co-athletic director with Ann Pettit.

“We’re going into a big league with some big people. We need to get a weight-lifting program and hire more coaches on campus. We don’t have an athletic period. Those are just the things off the top of my head that we need in order to compete.”

Oak Park boys’ basketball coach Aaron Shaw is the only on-campus varsity head coach at the school.

“There are going to be some problems,” Billingsley said. “We’re going to go with it and try to do the best we can.”

Small schools Thacher and Cate will join the Tri-County Athletic Association.

Camarillo has dominated the Pacific View League in many sports for years.

The Scorpions, however, must also adapt.

“We’re ready to move forward,” Camarillo athletic director Mary Perez said. “We think we can eventually, if not now, compete with schools in the Marmonte. . . .

“We’re content. We’re not super happy, but we’re not disappointed. We’re going to be just fine.”

The Pacific View will be a fiveteam league.

No school is expected to appeal the area’s decision, Dearborn said. The Northern Area will recommend the proposal to the section next year.

“It’s a process,” Perez said. “We can’t just get what we want. You’re dealing with a lot of leagues, and we’re trying to make everyone happy. We’ll work with this for four years. In another four years, we’ll figure out what works best.”

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