News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

April 30, 2013

IHSAA sectional alignments bring forth change

North, South’s sectional gains two teams — Avon and Brownsburg

TERRE HAUTE — When enrollment changes placed several area schools into different classes for the 2013-15 Indiana High School Athletic Association sectional alignments, change was expected when the sectional fields were finalized.

And change is exactly what nearly every area school will experience starting this fall.

The IHSAA announced the new sectional alignments on Monday and every basketball sectional in the Tribune-Star’s coverage area changed in some form. Sectional fields that had remained mostly constant through the class sports area that began in 1996 were tweaked or reshaped altogether.

Perhaps the most stable sectional had been the western 4A sectional — classified as Sectional 12 in recent years.

But when Northview’s enrollment dropped and the Knights were moved to Class 3A, a new member was assured to join existing teams Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South, Martinsville, Mooresville and Plainfield.

What took some aback was that the sectional gained two teams — Avon and Brownsburg.

“That’s two solid programs in most sports. It’ll add another challenge for the teams that were already in that sectional,” North athletic director Michael Menser said.

The seven-team 4A sectional creates new challenges. When a sectional goes above the traditional six-team field, an extra night of competition is necessary. Most sectionals go with a Tuesday-Wednesday-Friday-Saturday setup. That can create travel and logistical hurdles.

“It’ll be four nights instead of three, that’s one more night of traveling east. For our players, it’s another night where they have to play well,” South athletic director Brian Mancuso said. “It’s going to be harder [to win], but it’s going to be harder for them too.”

Equally germane to North and South will be what the schools agree to as far as hosting duties are concerned. In the years when Northview was in the field, there was a 3-3 split between schools in the western extreme of the sectional and schools roughly in the western suburban area of Indianapolis. The schools agreed to rotate the sectional sights so both geographic areas had an equitable split of hosting duties.

Now, the split is 5-2 … in favor of the Indianapolis-area schools.

“We think our facilities here are good enough to host. The teams that come here have good experiences. We hope it continues,” Mancuso said.

Northview’s drop to 3A placed the Knights in what is effectively a Western Indiana Conference invitational. They join WIC members West Vigo, Brown County, Edgewood and Owen Valley in a reconfigured Sectional 28. Exiting the sectional are Greencastle  (except for volleyball) and South Vermillion.

Change was most dramatic for the Parke County Class A schools.

Riverton Parke’s move up and South Vermillion’s move down to Class 2A created what is, essentially, a brand-new sectional. The Panthers and Wildcats are joined by Wabash River Conference members Fountain Central and Seeger as well as Southmont and Clinton Central.

Riverton Parke’s departure from Class A left a hole in the former Class A sectional field that had comprised entirely of WRC schools. The hole was filled by Lafayette Central Catholic, a move certain to cause consternation.

Oft-demonized by small public school fans for its alleged advantage as a result of a lack of district boundaries and supposed recruiting, LCC has won 37 combined sectional titles in boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball and volleyball since the class era began in 1996.

Rockville athletic director Ryan Luce wasn’t surprised LCC joined the field and was philosophical about the challenge they represent.

“We kind of looked at it on the map. We knew they’d come in from the north and we knew LCC was a candidate,” Luce said. “If you were successful, [LCC] was always  something that lurked in the distance. You knew you’d have to deal with them at some point. Having them in the sectional round? It’s going to make it challenging.”

The IHSAA also announced football classifications for the 2013-15 seasons as IHSAA football enters the six-class era.

The former Class 5A was split in half and Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South are in the new Class 5A field. Because of the split, most sectional fields in Class 6A and 5A include just four teams.

North and South’s new sectional foes are Castle and Evansville North. These are teams that both North and South open their seasons with. Castle is the reigning champion of the former Evansville-based Class 5A sectional and won a state title in 1995. Evansville North last won a 4A sectional in 2000 and last won a 5A sectional in 1995.

The last time a Terre Haute school won a football sectional was South’s title in 1988, but with the new system in place, optimism is high that the drought might end.

“This is why the new division was created. All of the schools are more equal in size. I’m pleased with the way it broke down. It’s a good solid sectional and a competitive one,” North football coach Chris Barrett said.

The remaining football classes remain as they were in terms of members and sectional size.

Northview’s 4A sectional added Danville, Indianapolis Chatard and Indianapolis Northwest. Chatard moved up from Class 3A due to the IHSAA’s new success factor, which moves teams up a class who enjoy state championship level success in their previous class. Indianapolis Cathedral moved out of the sectional and up to 5A for the same reason.

West Vigo’s 3A field — which formerly had Chatard — gained five new teams. Crawfordsville, Edgewood, Greencastle, North Montgomery and Western Boone join existing members Brebeuf and Tri-West.

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