By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
When the IHSAA released the enrollment figures for the 2013-14 school year classifications in sports Tuesday afternoon, there was very little change for area high schools.
There were no changes among local schools in boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, boys soccer or girls soccer.
The only class changes involving local schools occurred in football.
In June of 2011, the IHSAA issued a press release announcing the addition of a sixth class in football beginning in the 2013-14 school year when it adopted a portion of a plan proposed by the Indiana Football Coaches Association. The IHSAA Executive Committee also approved a two-year tournament success factor in each team sport (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball). The tournament success factor gives teams one point for winning a sectional championship, two for a regional, three for a semistate and four for a state championship. The maximum points a school can earn in a season single is four points. Should a team earn six points or more in a specified two-year period — for instance two state championship game appearances — that school would compete in the next higher enrollment class for the ensuing two seasons.
The sixth class in football is top 32 schools based on enrollment. Indianapolis Ben Davis is the largest school in the state with 4,687 students. Penn is fifth (3,401) and Warsaw 25th (2,138).
The 5A is made up of the next 34 schools. Local schools are Goshen (1,811) the 10th largest school in the class, Elkhart Memorial (1,793) No. 15, Elkhart Central (1,793) No. 17 and Concord (1,523) No. 29.
“We have been on the bubble the last couple of times when the enrollment figures were released so it doesn’t surprise me we moved up to 5A,” Concord coach Tim Dawson said. “I was in favor of the proposal from the IFCA.
“We should still be able to compete in the 5A class. Some of the programs that probably feel better about their chances of winning are schools like Goshen, Memorial and Central. They don’t have to go up against a school like Penn anymore.”
Sectional alignments are scheduled to be released later this spring.
Dawson offered a guess to what a the local 5A sectional could look like.
“My guess would be us, Goshen, Memorial and Central,” he said. “The Athletic Directors would like that since those would be some pretty good gates and there would be less travel involved.
“Because of wanting to keep the rest of the sectionals (4A to 1A) at 64 schools there could be some five teams sectionals. We could be one and if that is the case you might see Mishawaka added to the sectional. We lost to Mishawaka last season in the 4A semistate and now the Cavemen could be a potential sectional opponent.”
The Concord Minutemen have never played Central in football during the regular season or in the playoffs.
“Getting the chance to play new teams or teams that we don’t see very often in the playoffs is one of the exciting things about the new classifications,” Dawson said. “I can’t remember the last time we played Memorial in the playoffs. I know we played Goshen once when they were in 4A.”
The Minutemen and Goshen last played in the playoffs in a 2000 4A sectional championship contest with the Redskins winning 41-16 at Concord. The 1998 season is the last time Concord and Memorial squared off in the playoffs with the Minutemen winning a 4A sectional championship game by a score of 31-10 at Concord. The Minutemen went on to finish as the state runner-up that season losing to Indianapolis Cathedral 38-7.
Cathedral is one of the schools moving up in classification due to the success factor.
Dawson likes the idea he might be seeing less NLC teams in the new format.
“In our old sectional we could see Northridge, NorthWood or Plymouth in the playoffs after seeing them during the regular season,” he said. “This way we might be down to Goshen and Memorial.”
Another coach that would like to see less conference teams come sectional time is Scott Hoover at NorthWood.
“The NLC coaches have talked about how we like to cheer for teams in the league once we get to the playoffs, but it harder to do when the teams are in your sectional,” he said. “I would like to see some new teams come sectional time. DeKalb and East Noble have been in our sectional, but we have never gotten the chance to play them. The last two seasons since we moved up to 4A we haven’t played any team outside of the NLC in the sectional.”
Local 4A teams besides NorthWood (853) are Northridge (1,291) and Wawasee (933).
Class 4A also has a team that have been moved up due to the success factor as Indianapolis Bishop Chatard (726) has been elevated.
“I think the six classes is a step in the right direction,” Hoover said. “When teams like Goshen and Penn going up against each other there is too much of a difference in the size of the schools.
“High school football seems to be gaining in popularity and this should help us keep going in that direction.”
Local 3A teams are West Noble (717), Lakeland (678), Fairfield (589) and Jimtown (586).
There are no local 2A or 1A football schools.
There was no local movement among boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball, volleyball or softball teams with Goshen, Memorial, Central, Concord and Northridge remaining in 4A; Wawasee, NorthWood, West Noble, Lakeland, Fairfield and Jimtown in 3A; Westview (399) in 2A, Elkhart Christian Academy (156) and Bethany Christian (138) in 1A.
There are just two classes in boys and girls soccer. Goshen, Memorial, Central, Concord, Northridge, Wawasee, NorthWood, Lakeland and West Noble are in 2A; Elkhart Christian and Bethany Christian in 1A.