Classifications: Holcomb to 4A-II in football; Scott City to 4A in other sports
By BRETT MARSHALL
Trying to explain the high school classification assignment for athletics and activities every year, and in the case of football, every two years, is sometimes akin to trying to decipher a foreign language.
You might recognize some of what you're reading or hearing, and some of it might be muddled.
So, with Friday's announcement by the Kansas State High School Activities Association which classified all Kansas high schools for football (for the 2-year period of 2014 and 2015 seasons) and for the rest of the sports and activities (for the 2013-14 school year only), here's the two most important things to remmeber:
1. For football purposes only, enrollment figures submitted as of Sept. 20 for grades 9 through 11 were used.
2. For all other sports and activities, enrollment figures submitted as of the same date for grades 9 through 12 were the guiding procedure.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that a few schools in southwest Kansas and The Telegram area, will be in different classifications, all based upon the sport and which enrollment figures were considered.
Two of the areas top athletic programs — Holcomb and Scott City — were the most affected.
The Longhorns will be Class 4A, Division II for football for the next two seasons, having enrollment numbers in their bottom three high school classes of 196. They will join Hugoton in that classification. It will be the first year that Class 4A will compete in two divisions. Class 4A-I has an enrollment range from 550 to 330 while Division II is from 325 to 195, thus Holcomb was one student over the Haven, the smallest D-II school. Meanwhile, the Longhorns, with an enrollment in all four classes this year of 245, are one of the biggest Class 3A schools (a range of 249-156).
For Scott City, the roles are reversed.
The Beavers will compete in 2014 and 2015 in football in Class 3A (an enrollment in three classes of 192), making them one of the biggest schools in that group (193 to 117). They have been assigned to Class 4A, however, for the present school year's competitions, having an overall four-class enrollment of 257 students, making them one of the smallest (734-251).
But the good news for both the Longhorns and the Beavers is that Class 4A will be separated into two divisions, not only for football the next two years, but starting this year it also will include volleyball, basketball, softball and baseball. Those divisions have yet to be officially announced.
Based upon the KSHSAA announcement, Holcomb and Scott City will compete in the smaller divison of Class 4A.
"I don't see a whole lot of difference between 4A and 3A, to be honest," said Holcomb athletic director and head football coach Jerry Johnson. "The big worry for us is what they (KSHSAA) decide to do with our football district assignment."
Johnson said the school would prefer, for geographic purposes as well as scheduling, to be in a district that would include Hugoton, Pratt and Larned. The alternative would be to play in a district with Great West Activities Conference members Colby and Goodland, as well as GWAC member Hugoton. That, however, would force the Longhorns to find three additional schools to play since those games would not only be league encounters but district games as well.
"We hope they do what they did the last time we were in 4A and that's to go the southern route on the district," Johnson said. "The state's been pretty good about that in the past, so we're hoping for the same decision."
Now that Class 4A has been split into two, 32-school divisions, only Class 3A remains with 64 schools. There have been suggestions from a few area administrators that a proposal to split that class into two divisions is in the works, as well, and may be presented sometime in the next year.
For Scott City athletic director Randy Huck, the news came as little surprise as he said the school was aware they were on the bubble for both football and other sports.
"It doesn't surprise me at all," Huck said Friday in a telephone interview. "We knew we could possibly go either way."
Huck said the biggest problem now, though, is in the scheduling of regular season events, now that the Beavers will be Class 4A for the entire school year.
"We do a lot of our scheduling two years in advance and we planned it by thinking we'd be 3A," Huck said. "So we will not see very many of the 4A schools during the regular season that we will see in regionals, sub-state or state tournaments. When we look at the other sports and scheduling, it's sometimes funny what the discussions are like."
Huck said the Beavers might return to a district in 3A for 2014 and 2015 in which they competed in a previous cycle — Cimarron, Southwestern Heights and Lakin. For the 2012 and 2013 seasons, they had been in a district with TMP-Marian, Russell and Hoisington.
"There's just not very many 3A schools out this way, so the scheduling gets very complicated," Huck said, indicating that their season opener this year and in 2012 was Class 4A Abilene, which was a late agreed upon game two years ago when all schools met in Salina for the two-year scheduling meeting for football. "We just don't have many options."
Other schools affected for football for the 2014-15 seasons are Dighton/Healy, which will move up to 8-Man I from 8-man II, while Deerfield and Satanta drop from 8-man Division I to Division II.
While Scott City jumps to 4A for its 2013-14 competitions, all other area schools remain in their same classification. One interesting note in classifications, is that Western Athletic Conference foe Hays will be in Class 4A-Division I for the next two seasons, the same division as Ulysses. The Tigers might be the one school that is most impacted from a scheduling/distance perspective. Of the 4A-I schools, the closest appear to be Hays, Buhler and McPherson, if they were to be assigned to the southern schools.
Football Classifications (2014-15 Seasons)
(Only current freshman, sophomore, junior students counted)
Class 6A--Garden City (1,617).
Class 4A-Division I--Ulysses (367).
Class 4A-Division II--Holcomb (196), Hugoton (210).
Class 3A--Cimarron (119), Southwestern Heights (153), Lakin (143), Scott City (192).
Class 2-1A--Elkhart (104), Stanton County (98), Wichita County (92), Sublette (108), Syracuse (114).
8-Man Division I--Dighton/Healy (64), South Gray (80).
8-Man Division II--Deerfield (53), Ingalls (52), Moscow (47), Rolla (44), Satanta (60), Greeley County (42).
School Classifications (2013-14 Year Only, 4 Class Totals in parentheses)
Class 6A--Garden City (2,024).
Class 4A (Div. I and II for volleyball, basketball, softball and baseball, to be determined)--Hugoton (271), Scott City (251), Ulysses (475).
Class 3A--Cimarron (174), Holcomb (245), Southwestern Heights (195), Lakin (179).
Class 2A--Elkhart (137), Meade (133), Stanton County (124), Wichita County (118), South Gray (100), Sublette (138), Syracuse (134).
Class 1A--(Div. I and II for volleyball, basketball, softball and baseball, to be determined)--Deerfield (73), Dighton (70), Healy (23), Ingalls (68), Moscow (58), Rolla (63), Satanta (75), Greeley County (50).
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