There's something new for all five county sports teams after the biennial reclassification of Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association members, finalized earlier this month.
The biggest changes will be for Liberty and North Carroll, which move from Class 3A Region I to Class 2A Region I starting next school year.
Schools in that region extend from Garrett County east to Carroll and Howard counties.
Big winners should be the schools' boys soccer teams, which no longer will be stuck in the same region with Howard County juggernauts Centennial, Oakland Mills and Howard, though Middletown of Frederick County and Glenelg of Howard County still will be formidable foes.
The two Carroll schools also should be better able to challenge for region titles in track, cross country and, perhaps, volleyball. Boys and girls basketball region titles still will be hard to come by because of Middletown and Walkersville of Frederick County, but the North Carroll softball team should still be able to do well in the region.
North Carroll also may have a better chance of winning that elusive first state title at the Class 1A/2A level.
Liberty and North Carroll also may have a scheduling advantage over the other region schools because of Central Maryland Conference games against Class 4A Westminster and Frederick. (The state playoff system awards more points for victories over larger schools.) Westminster and South Carroll remained in the same classification, but were shuffled to slightly different regions.
Westminster, Frederick and three Baltimore County schools shifted from Class 4A Region I to Region II. Instead of being grouped with several Montgomery County teams, those five schools are grouped with four from Prince George's County -- Laurel, High Point, Roosevelt and Northwestern.
The biggest impact for Westminster there could be in track and cross country, where Prince George's schools, especially Roosevelt, excel. On the other hand, Walt Whitman of Montgomery County, one of the best cross country schools in the state, drops to Class 3A, giving Westminster a better shot at state titles in that sport.
The change in regions should not make much difference to other Westminster teams, except that road trips to away region games will be a little longer, just as they could be for Liberty and North Carroll.
South Carroll also moves within Class 3A, from Region I to Region III.
Remaining in the region are Linganore and Thomas Johnson from Frederick County and Howard and Centennial from Howard County.
Atholton of Howard County replaces Oakland Mills, which dropped to Class 2A Region I, and Randallstown of Baltimore County drops down from Class 4A.
Two Prince George's County schools, DuVal and Bladensburg, also join the region.
The addition of Randallstown, the state Class 4A football champ this fall, makes the region even more competitive in that sport, and Howard and Centennial will keep it competitive in soccer. Bladensburg and DuVal could do well in region track competition, too.
Francis Scott Key remains in Class 1A Region II, but the one new team in that region -- Wilde Lake of Howard County -- could change the face of that region in several sports, most noticeably football and boys soccer.
The effect of the realignment will be different in sports such as field hockey, girls soccer and boys and girls lacrosse, which are not played on a statewide basis and have different regions. Additionally, wrestling is broken into only two classifications -- 4A/3A and 1A/2A -- and its regions, too, are somewhat different.
Finally, golf and tennis postseason play is based on geographic district without regard to school size; reclassification will have essentially no effect on those sports.
New high school classifications CLASS 4A
Calvert Gwynn Park
J. M. Bennett
Havre de Grace
NOTE: These are regional alignments for the next two academic years.