Decling enrollments force realignments among area schools
The Minnesota State High School League recently completed its new competitive section assignments for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years and several changes are in store for the Tribune's 20 area schools.
A school's enrollment is the main factor if a move is to be made and 19 of the area schools will see a projected decrease in students. Willmar will see the biggest change as its proposed enrollment for the next two school years will be 994, down 68 from the current figure. Also seeing sizeable drop-offs will be New London-Spicer (446 from 508), BOLD (237 from 287), Renville County West (132 from 176) and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (145 from 185).
Central Minnesota Christian is the only school to have an increase as its enrollment will jump to 85 from 68.
The area school that will see the biggest change to its sports programs is BOLD. The 50-student decrease will mean that the Warriors will drop down to Class A in baseball, softball and volleyball. After spending the last few years in Section 3AA for the three sports BOLD will now be in 2A for baseball and volleyball, and 3A for softball.
Only three other area schools will change a class size despite the decreased enrollment.
After competing in Class A for football for several years, Renville County West will move down to 9-Man. Yellow Medicine East, which will stand to lose 11 students, will actually move up to 3AA from 3A in softball, while Lac qui Parle Valley will drop to 3A from 3AA in baseball. LQPV will see its upcoming enrollment drop to 250 from 282.
Willmar's sharp decline won't move the Cardinals down any classes, but the school will have less travel for some playoffs as the MSHSL moved Willmar north to Section 8 in cross country (Class AA), girls tennis (AA), golf (AAA) and track and field (AA). The wrestling team (AAA) will move out of Section 8 to Section 6 to join Buffalo, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Mound-Westonka, Robbinsdale Armstrong, Robbinsdale Cooper and Wayzata.
Another move that will impact Willmar will see Worthington leave 2AAA for basketball. The Trojans will move into 3AA to join BOLD, Lac qui Parle Valley, Montevideo and Yellow Medicine East.
Section 3AA will have a different look for baseball and softball as New London-Spicer will move into the section after spending time in Section 6. Other area teams in 3AA baseball will be Benson, Montevideo and Morris/Chokio-Alberta. Area teams in 3AA softball will be Benson/Hancock, Montevideo, Morris/Chokio-Alberta, New London-Spicer and Yellow Medicine East.
Other notable moves include Litchfield moving to 6AA from 5AA for baseball and basketball; Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart leaving 2A in football to join Dawson-Boyd, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg and MACCRAY in 5A; the Benson/KMS tennis program moving into 3A from 6A to join Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd, MACCRAY (boys only), Montevideo and Yellow Medicine East; and Minnewaska leaving 3AA for 6AA in volleyball to join Litchfield, New London-Spicer and Paynesville.
Enrollments and the section assignments can be viewed on the MSHSL's website at www.mshsl.org.