The Sonora Wildcats are officially new members of the Mother Lode League, at least for two years.
The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Board of Managers ratified the new four-year realignment plan Tuesday during its meeting at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton which moves Sonora from the Valley Oak League and into the MLL beginning in the fall of 2014.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Wildcat athletic director Rick Francis. "I'm looking forward to the relationships that will form. We are a foothills school and they are foothills schools, we're all the same type of kids. The MLL is a very solid league and I think it's a positive for us to join that league."
There will be no red-carpet treatment for Sonora as it moves in. All current MLL representatives voted against the new realignment plan at Tuesday's meeting.
Current MLL member schools have been adamant in their opposition to Sonora becoming a member, citing concerns with the Wildcat's football program which fields freshmen, junior varsity and varsity squads would dominate and put other players at a heightened risk for injury.
"We were a little disappointed because the entire MLL voted against the proposal," Francis said. "So we're gonna be good members. We're gonna play hard and respect them very much. We're not so dominant either. We lost in basketball to Summerville twice, we lost to Bret Harte, our girls lost to Calaveras, wrestling had their struggles with Bret Harte and Calaveras. Our volleyball team won the VOL this year but got beat by Summerville. I guess the way to put it, we've had a very solid past. So I think a lot of people are fearful. Do we have a good football program? Yes we do. But so does Calaveras and Argonaut."
Sonora is on the watch list which means in two years the realignment plan can be revisited. Win-loss records will be evaluated throughout the league and "we'll see if we stay or if they'll move us," Francis said.