Conference changes won’t stop students from succeeding
September 13, 2018
“When we found out that we moved up to 6A I was shocked. That meant we were going against the 6A schools which have very good bands,” said Catherine Benavides, a junior Nixon High band member.
Nixon High School moved up to 6A this year, a major change. The school went from conference 5A to 6A and passed the 6A number by about 60 students. Conferences were set by UIL when districts were realigned last spring for the next 2 years.
For a band member, 2017-2018 was a state year, since the band was in conference 5A. Five A and 6A take turns for state years. A state year is when the band not only competes locally but also against its region. If the band ends up in the top 10 it gets to compete in the finals, then competes for the top 5. The band can have the chance to compete with all the bands in the state.
Locally, there are two school districts and as well, two conferences between the schools. United Independent School District has four schools which are all in 6A, and the Laredo Independent School District which has three schools. All used to be in 5A but only Nixon moved up to 6A in the realignment.
“Being the only L.I.S.D. school to transition to 6A is pretty nice. It shows how our school is growing. It is also giving us the chance to go against higher level schools, which in the long run helps us,” Benavides said.
Most students might not have any clue about the transition to 6A, but clubs and organizations are also having to deal with it. It makes team members practice even more and with more passion to get to the top.
“Even though we might not be at their level, we can practice hard enough to get there; it’s not like we’re going to give up, but we want to do the best that we can and win. Hearing plans they (6A bands) are doing just makes us push harder because we might not have the money or things they have but we do sure have the heart to go against them,” Benavides said.
Some students have heard about the transition and shared their own opinions about it.
“I think that it is pretty awesome that we are in 6A. To be finally at a higher level like the UISD schools, now we must show that we are up to their level,” said a sophomore at Nixon High who asked to not be identified.
Even if some of the students aren’t in any organization and the transition doesn’t affect them at all, one still thinks about how it’s going to be for others.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people that it’s going to be hard going up against 6A. I just hope we all show and represent our school up to a high level. We have always been the school who tries their best, so we have to keep on going and I think going up to 6A can give us a great opportunity to show others that we can compete with schools we haven’t competed with before,” said another sophomore Nixon High student.
UIL academics will also compete in 6A. Even if each team doesn’t perform or isn’t part of the band, a sport, cheer, or other activities, U.I.L. academic teams compete usually every weekend. Team members say they are preparing themselves for what will be coming this season.
“At the moment we are figuring out how the whole 6A system will work for us. We are going over some of our past tests, trying to develop better skills in order for us to be able to succeed for our upcoming UIL season,” said Miriam Ayala, junior at Nixon High who is in UIL accounting, history, and current events.
Ayala talked about 6A and expressed how she feels about competing against those teams.
“Competing against 6A will definitely be a good challenge for me and my teammates. Six A schools tend to be pretty good at our UIL meets but it’s definitely not impossible for us to be able to accomplish our goals,” Ayala stated.
She does not think it would be any more difficult than it already was the past years since everything would be kept the same.
“In our past meets we would compete against some of our local 6A schools and everything was fair enough for all of us. The test would be the same along with the grading,” Ayala said.
Athletics is also facing a challenge with moving up to 6A.
“I did expect the conference change because our population is growing in our community,” said Romel Garcia, a junior and basketball post player.
Garcia explained how he feels about the change and how his teammates and he prepares for it.
“We need to adapt to the change, sport and academic wise with the difficulties it comes with. There’s more competition with the other teams. We are practicing long hours every day to get to the best of our ability,” Garcia said.
The LISD Athletics Department declined a request for an interview for this story.
Even though Martin High did not change conferences it did change districts for football. Two football players explained all about going up against different teams.
“I am really excited to play these new teams that are in our new district. Playing teams from San Antonio will be very fun and will give us a good estimate of how good of a team we really are. Facing these new teams will be a great challenge not only for myself but for the team. We’re going to be put in some tough situations throughout the season, so we’re just going to have to pull through as a team and get the job done,” said Martin High senior quarterback Mathew Duron.
Martin’s center said the change in teams is challenging.
“Every two or three years we change districts, so we get to face new teams. We also get to face new challenges,” added Martin High senior center Justin Trevino.
Trevino also explained what the team does to prepare whenever the players prepare to face new teams.
“Every year is a new challenge. That is why we have to watch films from our opponents. This helps us by being able to adjust what we need to practice on,” Trevino stated.
One of the biggest rivalry games is the Martin vs Nixon football game. Although the teams are in different conferences that doesn’t mean the game is gone, only the date changed and it will not count in the standings.
“Having the Martin vs. Nixon game as a season opener feels a bit odd, but the hype around the game is still there. We’re both playing for one thing, and that’s the hammer! It’s going to be a fun game and I can’t wait to get on that field,” Duron said.
“It doesn’t count but it is all about making memories. It shows who has the biggest fights. I mean it is Laredo’s Super Bowl, and at the end, it might not count for district but it sure will for the team,” Trevino said.
Whether the schools changed conferences or districts, all of them are going through a change this year, and that won’t stop any of them from going as far as they wish.
“I feel pretty confident going into this season,” Duron said. “We have a great chance of going far this year.”
Staff Writer Lizeth Gutierrez contributed to this story.