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Faith Lutheran going to Division I

Faith Lutheran’s girls golf team has won three consecutive Division I-A state titles.

But even if the Crusaders capture another title this fall, the streak will end at four. The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association approved a realignment proposal Wednesday that will move Faith Lutheran to Division I for the 2016-17 school year.

Faith Lutheran was pushed up based on two counts: enrollment and performance in the Nevada Rubric, which is used to determine alignment for Division I and I-A schools in Southern Nevada.

As a private school, Faith Lutheran’s enrollment is doubled because of the NIAA’s private school multiplier to determine classification. The school had an enrollment of 841 for the 2014-15 school year, which when doubled, puts it over the Division I-A ceiling of 1,200. The Crusaders also scored 204 points in the rubric, which assigns point values to schools’ finishes in 22 sports.

Though the realignment cycle runs through the end of the upcoming school year, Faith Lutheran already surpassed the 149-point total that will trigger a move to Division I.

“From the committee meetings, we knew that was kind of the way everything was going,” Faith Lutheran athletic director Bret Walter said. “We understand, we scored quite a few points in the rubric. If that’s where we’re going to fall and the feeling for most people is we need to go back up, we’re ready to do that.”

The Crusaders won six state titles this past school year and have 16 in three years in Division I-A.

“Obviously (when) you move up a division, it’s a lot tougher to win the whole thing,” Walter said. “But I think we’ll be able to compete.”

The board also voted to have exactly 16 schools in the Division I-A Southern Region. Just who will replace Faith Lutheran in I-A remains to be seen.

Current Division I schools Eldorado (two points) and Durango (six points) are possibilities, as schools that fail to reach 16 points in the two-year cycle are subject to move to I-A.

Another possibility is The Meadows, which was placed in Division I-A on Wednesday because of the private school multiplier. The Meadows’ enrollment last year was 261, and when doubled, it exceeds the ceiling for Division III.

But the school is expected to appeal, and surveys provided to Division III and I-A schools show overwhelming support for the Mustangs to return to Division III. Thirteen of 17 Division III schools responding supported the Mustangs returning to Division III, as did 19 of 24 Division I-A schools.

Another Southern Nevada program, Adelson School, faces a move from Division IV to Division III because of the multiplier. The expectation is that the Lions also will petition to return to Division IV.

The board also voted to move from a two-year rubric cycle to a four-year rubric cycle for Southern Nevada’s Division I and I-A schools.

The board voted to align Division I and I-A leagues geographically in the future. Current Division I schools are placed in leagues based partially on geography and partially on rubric point totals. That made for anomalies such as Desert Oasis, which is one of the valley’s southern-most schools, being placed in the Northwest League.

In other news, the board voted to begin football’s heat acclimation period on Aug. 5 instead of Aug. 8 this season. The move will allow the number of contact practice days from five to eight.

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587. Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSeiters.

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