"Keep the Mindset": Eastwood Drops to 5A

On Dec, 5, 2017, the University Interscholastic League released the realignment cutoff numbers.  Class 6A was cut off at 2,191 students and above.  Class 5A was listed as 1,150-2,190.  Oct. 27 was UIL snapshot day, when schools must report their actual population on that day. Eastwood enrollment, including freshmen, was 2,161 at that time, which places the school in the 5A classification. For the sport of football, Eastwood will join Bel Air, Chapin, Del Valle, Eastlake, and El Dorado (who also moves to 5A) in district 1-5A.  For all other sports, district will include Bel Air, Del Valle, Eastlake, El Dorado, Eastwood, Horizon, Riverside, Ysleta, Parkland, and Hanks.

The move to 5A brings with it new challenges, renewed rivalries with Hanks, Bel Air, and Del Valle, and new hopes for deeper runs into state playoffs. The Parkland Matadors made it to the regional semifinals in the state football playoffs, and the Hanks girls' wrestling team has won multiple state titles, and there are many other examples of deep playoff runs.

For many of the coaches this move is regarded as a positive one. Head football coach Julio Lopez looks forward to the new situation.

"If you look at Division I 1-5A for football, which includes us, Del Valle, Chapin, Bel Air, Eastlake, and El Dorado, you could possibly make the argument that it's just as good as 1-6A ,” Lopez said. "Competition is competition, whether it's 5A or 6A, and we'll continue to prepare and get ready the same way against a district that has a lot of good coaches, good players, and good programs.”

Assistant Girls' Golf coach Shawn Trousdale said that the change could improve scholarship chances for student-athletes.

“Unfortunately, since our enrollment has fallen a bit, we have fewer athletes, Trousdale said.” It’s the classification where we belong, statistically, by the numbers. For golf specifically, we have almost no chance at state in the 6A, at 5A we have a much better chance. In most sports, a state championship appearance enhances scholarship opportunities.”

Student athletes have mixed emotions about the change in classification. Junior hurdler and high jumper Megan Barnhouse is ready to take on the new competition, but is concerned about how it may affect the teams’ mentality.

“We’re kind of worried,” Barnhouse said, “Some of our teammates are getting over-confident.  As long as we keep the mindset we had when playing schools in 6A, we’ll be good.”

Sophomore varsity softball player Jackie Loera is also a bit concerned about the possible dangers of a new district.

"I'm not happy about it because the competition at the district level may not be as strong, but I think we'll be fine," Loera said. "We have to be careful not to get complacent."

Junior Isaac Garcia believes that the move will be good for the baseball program.

"We have the talent, and I think we will have a better chance of making playoffs and going farther," Garcia said. I'm looking forward to the new schedule and playing teams we don't normally play."