Realignment has many city teams on the move 3 county schools to change classes

December 09, 1992|By Jeff Seidel and Katherine Dunn Jeff Seidel is a contributing writer.

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association's reclassification will move nearly half of the Baltimore City schools to different classes in the 1993-94 school year, but only three Baltimore County schools will be shifted.

Reclassification, which takes place every two years, will move seven of the 16 city schools up or down one class. Only three of the 21 county schools will change under the plan.

City schools are participating in the MPSSAA for the first time this year, and their presence added a dimension to the reclassification.

"When you factor them in, that reshuffles the deck," said Ned Sparks, MPSSAA executive secretary. "Overall, I don't think there were that many [changes]."

Overall, 167 schools were evaluated. Classes 4A, 2A and 1A each will have 42 schools; Class 3A will get 41. Schools submitted their enrollment lists as of Sept. 30, 1992, and dividing lines for the classes were based on these figures.

In Baltimore City, Poly and City drop from Class 4A to 3A, and Northwestern falls from Class 3A to 2A. Southern, Southwestern and Walbrook move up to Class 4A from 3A, and Dunbar goes to Class 2A from 1A.

Don Williams, curriculum and instructional specialist for physical education and interscholastic athletics for Baltimore, said it's too ZTC early to tell how the schools will be affected.

"We have no real feel as to what kind of difference it'll make," he said. "We need to work it through the whole process. We don't know what the impact will be, if there will be an impact at all."

City schools were phased into the MPSSAA this year. Next year, they'll play in every sport, including football, a sport they didn't compete in in the MPSSAA this year.

The city schools mostly stayed together in the regions they were assigned to within the classes.

For example, eight city schools combine with three Baltimore County schools to form Class 4A, Region II. Five city schools go together in Class 3A, Region IV; three city schools are in Class 2A, Region IV.

This region has Dunbar, Forest Park and Northwestern in with schools from Anne Arundel, Dorchester, Wicomico and Worcester counties. There could be some long bus rides come playoff time, but Williams said that as long as it's known ahead of time, he foresees no problems.

"We have to let it run the gamut," Williams said. "When it's rethought again, we may have some recommendations. Right now, we don't."

In Baltimore County, Catonsville drops from Class 3A to 2A; Hereford moves down from Class 2A to 1A; and Patapsco moves up to Class 3A from 2A.

Ron Belinko, coordinator of physical education and athletics for Baltimore County, liked the reclassification because it gave Baltimore County 11 schools each in classes 4A and 3A and 10 each in classes 2A and 1A.

"It kept us in balance with 11 and 10," Belinko said. "Any time you get an even split, you're happy. It helps with scheduling."

Catonsville will move to Class 2A, Region II to be with five other Baltimore County teams and teams from Harford and Cecil counties. Patapsco goes to Class 3A, Region II to be with Baltimore County and Harford County teams, and Hereford moves to Class 1A, Region II with teams from Baltimore, Cecil and Harford counties.

"It's just Patapsco trading places with Catonsville," Belinko said. "And, Hereford belongs in 1A."

Catonsville almost made it back to Class 3A. With 859 students in ninth through 11th grade, the Comets are the top Class 2A school. Bethesda-Chevy Chase is the lowest Class 3A school, with just six more students.

Edmondson and Forest Park were the only Baltimore schools near cutoff points. Edmondson, with 1,117 students, came in as the second-lowest Class 4A school, one student ahead of Richard Montgomery. Broadneck, at 1,104, was the top Class 3A school.

Forest Park will be the fifth-largest Class 2A school, with 850 students. The Foresters were nine students behind Catonsville, the largest Class 2A school.

Harford County

Fallston and Aberdeen move back into Class 2A where they were two years ago.

Fallston moves up from Class 1A with a bullet.

The fastest-growing school in Harford County, Fallston probably will be a Class 3A school by 1995, athletic director Dave Cesky said.

Aberdeen's enrollment has not changed, but because it was one of the smallest 3A schools for the past two years, the addition of the 13 Baltimore City schools to classes 3A and 4A pushed the Eagles back down to Class 2A, athletic director George Connolly said.

Although those are the only Harford County schools to switch regions, all of the local Class 1A and 2A teams will notice a difference come playoff time. Newly aligned regions will mean less travel. Gone are the lower Eastern Shore teams, replaced by Cecil and Baltimore County teams.

Aberdeen and Fallston face the biggest changes.

Connolly said the drop should benefit all sports, helping the Eagles qualify for more regional playoff berths.

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