Herald Journal, April 7, 2003
A new look next season for high school sports
By Aaron Schultz
It is time again. That's right, time for reclassification for high school sports.
Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Holy Trinity of Winsted, and Lester Prairie are all being affected by reclassification, which takes place every two years.
Yet, the Lakers appear to be affected the most by the reclassification, especially in basketball.
Both the boys' and the girls' basketball teams will be moving up a class starting the 2003-2004 season.
The past few seasons, the Lakers have been competing in Section 4, Class 1A.
Next season the Lakers will compete in Section 5, Class 2A.
In the boys' Section 5AA with the Lakers will be Annandale, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, BOLD (Bird Island-Olivia), Eden Valley-Watkins, Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop, Kimball, Maple Lake, Mayer Lutheran, New London-Spicer, Norwood Young America, Paynesville, Rockford, St. Cloud Cathedral, Sibley East, and Watertown-Mayer.
The section for the Lady Lakers will be almost identical to the boys' except St. John's Prep replaces Annandale.
Two small changes are coming for the Laker football section. While they remain in the same section, 5AA, as last year, it will have a slightly different look.
Dropped from the section are Pierz and Mayer Lutheran, and taking their place will be Paynesville and Maple Lake.
Moving on to Holy Trinity of Winsted, the only big change comes in football, and that is by choice.
In 2003, the Trojans have elected to play nine-man football in the playoffs, competing in Section 4.
Holy Trinity will remain in the Gopher Valley Conference, and play a 11-man schedule throughout the season, but when playoffs roll around, it will be nine-man time.
Looking at the section the Trojans were placed in for nine-man, if they should have to go on the road for a playoff game, it will be a long trip.
Joining the Trojans in Section 4 will be Bertha-Hewitt, Eagle Valley, Isle, Laporte, Northland, Underwood, and Verndale.
Like the Trojans, the Bulldogs will not be affected much by reclassification, except in football.
While the Bulldogs will stay in Section 4A for football, the section will take on an entirely new look in 2003.
Only three teams that were in Section 4A in 2002 will be there in 2003.
Along with the Bulldogs, Randolph and St. Bernard's will return, but the other five teams will be newcomers.
New in Section 4A in 2003 will be Goodhue, Mayer Lutheran, McLeod West, St. Agnes, and West Lutheran.
Changes for all spring sports will be released later this month.
So, what is reclassification? How does it work?
Those are just two of the questions that come up when talking about reclassification.
While it can seem very complicated when one starts looking at the information, it is rather simple.
Every two years the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) compiles a list of enrollment for every school in the state.
The MSHSL takes the enrollment for grades nine, 10, and 11 and puts it into its system.
The enrollment used for Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted is 236, for Lester Prairie is 129, and for Holy Trinity of Winsted is 74.
All schools were required to report their enrollments by October 1, 2002 for this reclassification period.
Each sport has a slightly different way of determining which class a school is placed in, which is set by the MSHSL.
In baseball, wrestling, and volleyball, the three classes are divided out evenly.
In basketball, the largest 48 schools are placed in Class 4A, the next 64 are placed in Class 3A, the next 128 schools are placed in Class 2A, and the remainder are placed in Class 1A.
With those standards for basketball, the enrollment cutoff for Class 1A in basketball is 198 for boys, and 192 for girls.
In football, schools with an enrollment of over 1,100 are placed in Class 5A, and an enrollment between 550-1,099 are placed in Class 4A.
Moving down to nine-man, all schools with an enrollment of under 140 are placed in nine man.
If a school with an enrollment of under 140 would wish to move up to 11-man, it may do so.
If a school does move up, then it must stay in 11-man for a four-year commitment.
Over the past several years the Trojans have been competing in the 11-man playoffs in Class 1A. That will all change in 2003.
Holy Trinity's four-year commitment came up this past year, so it had the choice of going back to nine man, which they did, or moving back up to 11-man.
Lester Prairie, on the other hand, decided to stay in 11-man, and play Class 1A football.
The MSHSL then takes all of the schools with an enrollment of below 550 that wish to play 11-man and divides them equally between Class 3A, Class 2A, and Class 1A.
Schools may also opt to move up a class in other sports, such as basketball. If a school so chooses to move up, it must stay in that class for four years, as in football.
As far as which section in a certain class a school is placed in, the schools have no say in the mater.
The MSHSL has computer software, called ArcView, that places each school in a section.
That software is used exclusively to place the schools in a section. The only time the MSHSL will rework a section is if there is a differential in the number of teams in a section that is greater than two.
The software places teams in a section based on geographic contiguity, economic considerations, all while attempting to keep the sections even.
No appeals are heard regarding a school's placement in a specific section. All placements are final.
Below is a listing of area schools, and the changes, if any, that they will make for football, boys' basketball, and girls' basketball.
While the list is not complete, it gives a good idea of who these schools will be competing against in next season's playoffs.
For a complete listing of each section for each sport, go to www.mshsl.org.
Buffalo's enrollment was submitted at 1,231, which placed it in the upper tier of classes for every sport.
In football, Buffalo will be in Section 6, Class 5A with Hopkins, Maple Grove, Osseo, Park Center, Robbinsdale Armstrong, Robbinsdale Cooper, and Wayzata.
Dassel-Cokato's enrollment was submitted at 533 for the reclassification process.
The Chargers moved up to Class 3A in boys' and girls' basketball.
The boys will be in Section 4AAA next year with Annandale, Becker, Big Lake, Monticello, Princeton, STMA, Sartell, and Sauk Rapids-Rice.
The girls' will also be in Section 4AAA with the same teams, except Annandale will be replacing STMA.
In football, the Chargers will remain in Section 5, Class 3A with St. Cloud Cathedral replacing Moose Lake in the section.
Delano's enrollment was submitted at 449 for the reclassification process.
The Tigers will remain in Section 4, Class 2A for both boys' and girls' basketball, and Section 4, Class 3A for football with no major changes.
Glencoe-Silver Lake's enrollment was submitted at 489 for the reclassification process.
The Panthers will remain in Section 2, Class 3A for football with all of the teams returning except one, and it is a big one.
Jackson County Central will no longer be a section rival with the Panthers, moving out of Section 2AAA.
For boys' and girls' basketball, the Panthers will be moving from Class 2A to Class 3A next season to Section 2.
In the new section, both the girls and the boys will compete against Fairmont, Mankato West, Mankato East, Marshall, New Ulm, Worthington, and Hutchinson.
Mayer Lutheran's enrollment was submitted at 200 for the reclassification process.
The Crusaders moved around quite a bit in the reclassification process up a class in both girls' and boys' basketball, but down in football.
For basketball, the Crusaders will join HLWW in Section 5, Class 2A.
In football, the Crusaders will move down a class to Class 1A, Section 4, the same class as Lester Prairie noted earlier.
Norwood Young America's enrollment was submitted at 292 for the reclassification process.
The Raiders remain in the same class and section for boys' basketball, girls' basketball, and football.
Waconia's enrollment was submitted at 529 for the reclassification process.
The Wildcats have been shuffled around in boys' basketball, girls' basketball, and football.
In football, the Wildcats will remain in Class 3A, but will move over to Section 2, joining Glencoe-Silver Lake, Blue Earth Area, Cannon Falls, Jordan, Maple River, St. Peter, and LeSueur-Henderson.
For boys' and girls' basketball, the Wildcats moved up to Class 3A in Section 5.
The girls will go up against Benilde-St. Margaret's, Minneapolis North, Mound-Westonka, New Prague, Orono, St. Louis Park, and Shakopee.
The boys will face off against Benilde-St. Margaret's, Columbia Heights, Minneapolis Edison, Mound Westonka, Orono, St. Louis Park, and Shakopee.
Watertown-Mayer's enrollment was submitted at 381 for the reclassification process.
The Royals will remain in the same section for boys' basketball, girls' basketball, football, and for nearly all of their sports.