By TOM WILLIAMS
The Cape-Atlantic League has changed its alignments for winter sports starting in December.
Now using a ranking system that lists the teams from No. 1 through No. 21 in three-conference sports and through No. 18 in two-conference sports, plus a “snake” format that rotates the teams from top to bottom through the conferences, enrollment and geography are pretty much ignored.
In boys basketball, three-time defending CAL champion Wildwood Catholic moves up to the American Conference where it will probably be challenged by Atlantic City and Ocean City. CAL Tournament finalist St. Augustine Prep is in the National Conference with Pleasantville. And National Conference champ Mainland moves to the United Conference with Holy Spirit and St. Joseph.
In girls basketball, CAL champion Atlantic City stays in the American Conference and is joined by CAL finalist Mainland and Absegami. South Jersey champion Ocean City stays in the National Conference and is joined by Atlantic Tech. And the United Conference is largely the same with Middle Township, Our Lady of Mercy and Wildwood Catholic the top challengers.
As you can see, schools are no longer automatically in the same conference in both boys and girls basketball. The teams will play the other teams in their conference twice each. There will be no assigned crossover games. The teams are given their 12 conference games and they must schedule up to 12 other games themselves.
Wrestling and swimming will remain in two conferences. They will face each other once throughout the season.
In swimming, the conferences are the same for boys and girls teams because of pool space limitations and the fact that some schools have the same head coach for boys and girls.
These alignments are for the 2020-21 school year only. The league will re-align every year based on the performances of the programs in the previous two seasons.
Fall sports will remain the same as in 2019 because those schedules are generally finished. Alignments for 2021 spring sports will be determined at a later date using the same system.