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Changes underway for junior high competition
As Princeton ISD prepares for the impending growth and the addition of a second middle school for 2019-2020, plans are already underway that will impact Clark students beginning this next school year.
Next month, UIL will release its district alignments. At that time, Princeton ISD will attempt to locate a 4A junior high district for both Clark and Southard.
"It is imperative that we get both schools represented in a district for the first year of the UIL alignments since they are in place for a 2-year cycle," Superintendent Philip Anthony said. "But to do that, the teams must be in a district next year, even though all the students will be attending Clark Jr. High together."
According to Mr. Anthony, athletics and cheer will be divided into teams or squads next year based on geographic parameters using the future Clark and Southard attendance zones. Elementary schools will track directly into the junior high zones. Godwin and Harper students will attend Clark. Students in the Lacy and Smith zones will attend Southard.
"The district wants this transition to be as smooth as possible for the students," Mr. Anthony said. "We believe the plan we have proposed will ensure our students can continue to participate in competitive sports both years, both before and after the new middle school opens."
At this time, it is unknown how high school districts will be aligned for UIL competition, but when the assignments are announced Feb. 1, PISD officials will begin their search for a district that can include the Princeton middle school teams.
"Until after Feb. 1, we do not know which district or districts that might be for junior high competition," Mr. Anthony said. "Although UIL stipulates which districts the high schools compete within, it does not regulate where junior high schools play. For instance, the McKinney middle schools only play other McKinney middle schools. They do not follow the teams their high schools compete against."
In anticipation of multiple teams within Clark next year, coaches and coordinators will be added. Students from both campus teams will remain in the same athletic period.
"They will practice together, yet they will compete separately," Mr. Anthony said. "Both teams, regardless of whether they represent Clark or Southard, will be the Panthers and wear maroon and white to maintain unity and spirit since they both feed into Princeton High School that competes as the Princeton Panthers."