Realignment gives county teams new look Changes to affect basketball most

December 09, 1992|By Rick Belz and Gary Lambrecht | Rick Belz and Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writers

Wilde Lake's boys basketball program will be able to breathe a bit easier, Oakland Mills will find it tougher than ever to win a state boys basketball championship and the suddenly dynastic volleyball program at Mount Hebron will be challenged like never before.

These are a few changes that figure to result from the state's new classification and regional alignments, which will take effect in the 1993-94 school year and continue through 1994-95.

Several Howard County schools will be affected by the changes.

Mount Hebron will move from Class 2A to 3A, sharing space with Centennial and Howard in Region IV.

Atholton will drop from 3A to 2A, where the Raiders will join Glenelg, Hammond and Oakland Mills in Region III. That grouping will prevent Howard County teams from playing each other in the state playoffs. Last year, for example, Glenelg -- formally in Region I -- faced Hammond in the 2A girls basketball championship game.

Basketball figures to be the sport most affected by the new alignments. Wilde Lake's boys team, which will stay at Class 1A in Region II, can continue to dream realistically about winning a state championship, now that Baltimore City and national powerhouse Dunbar is slated to move from Class 1A to 2A.

That's bad news for the county's 2A foursome, particularly Oakland Mills, a perennial state title contender.

The likes of Fairmont Heights, Potomac and Surrattsville will make the county's Class 2A boys basketball teams sweat a lot more to reach the state playoffs. Potomac made it to the final four in 1989 and 1990, winning in 1989.

Winning a regional title also will be tougher for Class 3A Centennial, Mount Hebron and Howard, which must beat out five Baltimore City schools and Broadneck of Anne Arundel.

The girls basketball picture also will change considerably.

With Hebron's move, the road should be much easier for Hammond -- which is defending its state crown this year -- to continue its dominance at the state level.

Mount Hebron, meanwhile, will likely find itself facing more tough opponents in the playoffs. The Vikings will have Howard in their region, along with Broadneck. Outside the region are powers such as DuVal (Prince George's) and Linganore (Frederick), the defending 3A champion that went undefeated last season.

Three volleyball teams figure to be drastically affected. Mount Hebron, which has won three straight 2A titles, will move into the high-rent district with Centennial, winner of two straight 3A crowns and 38 consecutive matches.

And Atholton, which has suffered in 3A despite fielding fine teams the last two years -- thanks largely to Centennial -- drops to 2A, where the Raiders won't have to contend with Centennial or Hebron, come playoff time.

Glenelg's volleyball team, which will return several key starters from its best team ever, also will bid farewell to the Hebron team that eliminated the Gladiators in this year's 2A semifinals.

The Class 2A boys soccer teams will have an easier time qualifying for their regions because they will have to face weaker teams from Prince George's and St. Mary's counties instead of Baltimore County.

But with Atholton, Glenelg, Oakland Mills and Hammond all grouped in Region III, winning the region will be tougher.

Eliminated is the possibility of two county teams meeting in the state semifinal, as Oakland Mills and Glenelg did this season. Oakland Mills and Glenelg were previously in different regions.

Atholton's drop from 3A to 2A eliminates what had developed into a tremendous regional rivalry with Centennial, which remained 3A. Those two teams met in the regional final the past two seasons, and both games were decided by shootouts.

Life will be a little easier for Centennial without Atholton in its class and being grouped primarily with weak Baltimore City schools. Only Broadneck and Howard seem to offer a challenge to the Eagles' defense of their regional title.

The Class 2A girls soccer picture won't change much, because Hammond and Oakland Mills, the two strongest teams, remain in the same region.

Regional playoff life also will be easier for the Centennial girls soccer team. And not much changed for Wilde Lake's Class 1A soccer teams.

The Class 2A regional baseball scene will be more competitive for Hammond and Oakland Mills with the addition of Atholton and Glenelg, two perennial county powers.

Great Mills of St. Mary's County, which made the state semifinals every year from 1982 to 1987, also may make Region III tougher.

Reclassification

The 1993-94/1994-95 classifications for Howard County schools in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic

Association:

Centennial

Class 3A, Region IV

Howard

Class 3A, Region IV

Mount Hebron

Class 3A, Region IV

Atholton

Class 2A, Region III

Glenelg

Class 2A, Region III

Hammond

Class 2A, Region III

Oakland Mills

Class 2A, Region III

Wilde Lake

Class 1A, Regional II

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