The San Diego Old Aztecs have announced that they will be moving up to Division 1 for the 2013 season.
The Aztecs finished the 2012 Southern California DII season with another undefeated run, going 9-0. They have a bye to the SoCal semifinals (as do 2nd place Ventura County).
In the past three seasons, the Aztecs have won 30 games and tied one, with no losses, in SoCal DII league play. They finished 3rd in the nation in DII last season.
SoCal does not have an automatic promotion rule, so it is up to each club to figure out if it can make the move to another level. The Aztec club administration decided this season to ask the SCRFU for promotion based on their DII league record as well as a series of good results against DI teams.
“It wasn't a very difficult decision to make,” said club spokesman Sean Lindersmith. “We acknowledge that the step up will be a great challenge and we are excited about being tested against great teams from our region.”
DII clubs sometimes struggled with moving to DI simple because experienced players see a run to the national championship is their last rugby fling before they retire. Lindersmith said club depth is critical to playing in DI. This is true in part because the level of play means clubs have to be able to handle injuries. And it is also important because SoCal’s DI has a vibrant B-side competition (the league played 25 games so far this year; Belmont Shore leads with a 9-0 record).
“Our concern would be to keep developing our current players and recruiting other players or athletes that could help the club be successful on the field and off,” said Lindersmith. “The Old Aztecs have had a great club atmosphere and will continue to strive to maintain that.”