Kingman High School welcomes the news of Kingman Academy High School's potential move from the Charter Athletic Association to the Arizona Interscholastic Association beginning in fall.
"We are thrilled that they are going to do it because its another closer opponent for us," KHS Athletic Director John Venenga said. "I think it's going to be great. I think it's going to open more eyes in the community as far what the Academy has going and the athletes they actually have there. Some people may not realize just how good they really are."
The move to the AIA by KAHS has the potential of also creating a rivalry between the two schools that KHS girls basketball coach Danny Gonzalez sees as positive for the community as a whole. Gonzalez's only concern is where to seat the spectators.
"I think it will be awesome," he said. "The atmosphere is going to be electrifying. There is no question it will be a rivalry. My concern is their gym. It's small. Where are you going to put the fans?"
Betty Rowe Gymnasium on the KAOL campus has seating on one side of the court, and it is only six rows deep.
While both KHS and KAHS would probably agree that having more fans than seats available is a good problem to have, one possible solution could be to move the game away from KAHS and into a gym with a larger seating capacity. It's a solution that KHS boys basketball coach Ron Anthony thinks won't have much of an effect on the outcome.
"If the basket is 10-feet tall at KHS like it is at Lee Williams, like it is at the academy, it doesn't matter because everybody's mom and dad are going to be yelling and cheering anyway," Anthony said. "And after the game we are going to shake hands."
KAHS' move to the AIA is going to have benefits for all three high schools in Kingman when it comes to athletics.
"I think Academy going to the AIA is huge for the community," Gonzalez said. "It's going to bring money into the schools with the ticket sales and down the road, who knows?"
Anthony sees KAHS' move as an opportunity for his players to experience something that he enjoyed when he was attending high school in the Phoenix area and would play against friends attending South Mountain High School.
"Those were the four best games every year because we knew each other," Anthony said. "At the end the game we would shake hands and meet each other at the park on Saturday and Sundays and talk trash the whole time. We were all friends. We were not enemies."
For Venenga, the one major con of KAHS' move could be finding enough officials for all three schools, especially if it was a night where both Lee Williams and Kingman High were playing football games at home.
"Two of those three teams are in town playing - finding enough officials could be an issue," Venenga said. "Having to pay mileage and getting people here, that's going to be an issue."
Besides the seating issue at KAHS, the other that Venenga sees that could cause problems would be the school's decision to play its football games at Southside Park. The park lacks locker rooms and has limited seating for visitors.
"If Lee Williams goes and plays the Academy downtown, there is not enough seating for everybody," Venenga said.
A possible solution could be a working partnership between the Kingman Academy of Learning School District and the Kingman Unified School District in regards of the use of facilities at LWHS or KHS.
"If they end up in the AIA, I think we have to work together," Venenga said. "In the long run it's all about kids and our district has always been great about doing what's right with kids. My guess is that it's something that we have to look at and work with. I think the two district offices would get together and figure something out.
"Three high schools in one town being able to play each other is going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be a big rivalry."