KSHSAA announces 2017-18 divisions, classification changes for 2018-19 school year

The Kansas High School Activities Association has classified Sterling High School in the 3A division in all sports for the 2017-18 school year. Next year football will be competing in the 2A division in District 7 with five other schools which include: Cimarron, Ellinwood, Lakin, Lyons and Southwestern Heights.

Although sub-state and regional assignments have not yet been announced, many coaches see differences between 2A and 3A that could affect Sterling High School athletics.

“The obvious advantages to 2A is that you get to play smaller schools so sometimes that helps with depth issues, we have similar depth with some of the smaller schools, but you’re still going to have to beat the best in order to do the things that we want to accomplish,” Football and Men’s Basketball Head Coach Derek Schneider said.

Even with the differences in size between 2 and 3A schools there are always be competitive teams to play.

“I don’t know that there are advantages or disadvantages, 3A is tough. If you drop to 2A there is a chance of playing Central Plains and they’re tough. So wherever you go, I think, you’ve got to beat the best to be the best,” Jill Rowland, head coach of the women’s basketball said.

Along the line of divisions, talk has arisen about the new changes that will be brought in the next school year, due to the fact that KSHAA passed two proposals in June that will change the size and number of classifications in football and the size of classifications in all other sports at the beginning of 2018-19 school year.

While for the upcoming school year classifications will remain the same; in the 2018-19 school year, for all activities except football there will be 36 teams in 6A, 5A and 4A, 64 teams in 3A and 2A with the remaining 116 teams competing in 1A.

“My coaches liked it, the HOA League Commissioner was in favor of it and I couldn’t find any reason not to vote for it. To me this decision was not a reinvention but a going back to what it use to be,”  Sterling High School’s Principal Bill Anderson on his decision to vote for the class changes said.

Although with different sports there were some differing opinions. Tennis coach Curtis Thompson sees some problems in how the new divisions will affect his tennis teams.

“Someone thought there were going to be too many schools in 4A tennis they moved more schools down into the 3-2-1A division which will make things harder with at least one extra school because players will have to win more matches to qualify (for state),” Thompson said.

Women’s Head Basketball Coach Jill Rowland notes that the division changes benefit basketball on the girls side.

“At first I didn’t know how it would pan out, but after looking at it a little closer I think that the new classifications could probably benefit us with the fact that we’ll be against schools more our size. There will always be competition and it won’t make it easier for us, but we’ll go from being the smallest 3A to being grouped with schools that are as competitive and more comparable to our enrollment,” Rowland said.

Others, like Schneider, believe that it shouldn’t bring about too many changes for the future.

“I haven’t looked super into detail about the new classifications, mostly because it won’t affect us until next year, but I do think that it’s good,” Schneider said. “It levels things out in the upper classes like 4A and as for us, whether we’re in 2A or 3A, we’ll still have really strong competition and will have good teams to compete against.”

Calculating the changes using the 2016-17 enrollment numbers classification ranges for all activities except football would be: 6A, 2,348 – 1331 students; 5A, 1,318 – 709 students; 4A, 699-319 students; 3A, 314 – 180 students; 2A, 179 – 107 students and 1A, 107 – 23 students.

With this year’s enrollment of 161 students, Sterling is projected to be in the 2A classification next year.

Football.

3-2A – Teams will have 48 teams with eight districts of six teams per district, the district system will not be changing. Teams will play eight district games starting Week 4 and ending Week 8 followed by playoff games with the top four teams in each district playing top four teams from other districts in Week 9. While the fifth- and sixth-place teams play fifth- and sixth-place teams from other districts. The odd-numbered district will host games in odd-numbered years.

Basketball.

3-2A – As in previous years both classifications will have 64 teams and feature a total of eight, eight-team sub-state tournaments based on geography. Teams will still need to win three games to reach the state tournament.

Cross Country.

3-2A – Sixteen teams will compete in four regionals with the top three teams advancing along with the top 10 individuals.

Golf.

6-5-4-3-2-1A – No changes will be made to the boys’ regional tournaments.

Softball

In Classes 3A and 2-1A, there will be a total of eight, seven or eight-team sub-states based on geography. Each sub-state has the flexibility to host quarterfinal games at the higher seed or host all games at the host site, where the semifinals and final will be played.

Tennis.

6-5-4-3-2-1A –No changes are planned for postseason play, only the number of teams will be affected. Classes 5 and 6A will remain the same while 40 percent of the remaining schools will be put into class 4A, with the remaining 60 percent competing in 3-2-1A.

Track and Field.

3-2A – Postseason format will remain the same, with 16 teams per regional.

Volleyball.

3-2A – Eight, eight-team sub-state tournaments will be held with the winner advancing to state.

Wrestling.

4-3-2-1A – Four regionals tournaments will be held with the top four wrestlers advancing to the state tournament.