Central Section feels like a million bucks
PORTERVILLE — The Central Section enjoyed the life of a millionaire last school year.
That’s what 90 athletic directors learned when section Commissioner Jim Crichlow settled behind the lectern Tuesday morning here at the Veterans Memorial Building and announced the section had netted a cool mil from all playoffs.
That meant $705,000 was returned to the section’s 92 schools and nearly $300,000 to the section office.
The record total exceeded the previous best by at least $150,000, Crichlow said following the section’s annual administrative kickoff in the town that also houses the section office.
“It was a phenomenal year,” he said. “Great matchups helped.”
It featured the boys’ Division I majors, which burned the turnstiles to the combined tune of 15,000 in Bullard championship games with Bakersfield (football), Clovis West (basketball) and Clovis (baseball).
The section’s $400,000 budget is financed primarily through playoff revenue. Last year’s boon helped Crichlow’s office end $56,000 in the black, boosting a reserve to nearly $450,000.
“Never know when you might need some for a rainy day,” he said, referring to the worst-case scenario of wet football playoffs, which typically hurt the gate.
Administrative salaries, awards (team plaques, individual medals) and scholarships account for the bulk of the section budget. And those are sustained regardless of weather.
The section continues to be rewarded for its dominance in state wrestling. It will automatically advance no fewer than nine wrestlers in each of the 14 weight classes from the Grand Masters to the 2013 state tournament. That’s an increase of one per weight class in what’s been a steady ascent for a section that has captured 17 team titles, including a record nine by two-year reigning champion Clovis, in the 30-year history of the tournament.
The first section girls wrestling championship will likely be held next winter. To this point, section girls have had to travel to Southern California in an attempt to qualify for the state tournament in Lemoore. A section tournament would probably advance each gold medalist in the 14 weight brackets, section Assistant Commissioner Jeff Cardoza said.
D-III golf tournaments will be added for section girls (fall) and boys (spring). They’ve consisted of D-I and D-II tournaments previously. The D-III events will give less advanced golfers a shot at gold.
Section individual tennis postseason for girls (fall) and boys (spring) will begin with three area qualifying tournaments (north, central, south) as opposed to one all-encompassing tournament. “This will eliminate the No. 64 (seed) traveling from one end of the Valley to the other to get beat 6-0, 6-0 by the No. 1,” Crichlow said.
The section cross country meet at Woodward Park has been moved back a week, to Nov. 15 — nine days prior to the state final at the same site. Previously, the section meet was two weeks before the state championships.