As schools grow, shrink, so do athletic classes Only Carroll escapes new round of class shifts XTC

November 06, 1998|By Rick Belz and Lem Satterfield | Rick Belz and Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Harford County's C. Milton Wright could vie with Montgomery County's Class 4A football power Sherwood. In Class 3A, Randallstown and Annapolis could challenge Seneca Valley. And Hereford, City and Baltimore's Dunbar could compete for Class 2A titles.

These are the possibilities if reclassification proposals at yesterday's state association meeting are upheld at the Board of Control session in early December.

Based on the enrollment of ninth-through-11th graders at each of the state association's members, schools were reclassified for all sports competition during the 1999-2000 school year. The process, which takes place every two years, most significantly affected Baltimore County. Only Carroll among Baltimore-area school jurisdictions was unaffected.

In Baltimore County, Woodlawn and Parkville are likely to move from 3A to 4A, 2As Randallstown, Franklin and Patapsco may rise to 3A, and 3A Catonsville is apt to drop to 2A. Hereford will become a 2A school.

In Howard County, Long Reach and River Hill -- schools only 3 years old -- will move from 2A to 3A. Annapolis will switch places with Anne Arundel County neighbor Broadneck, dropping to 3A as Broadneck rises to 4A. South River of Anne Arundel rises to 3A. In a significant change, however, eight-time state champ Seneca Valley, a 4A program in Montgomery County, also drops to 3A.

In Baltimore City, City and Edmondson slip from 3A to 2A. And in Harford County, 3A C. Milton Wright becomes a 4A program -- the first time the Mustangs have been reclassified into the state's largest category, said athletic director Jim McNicholas.

Of Hereford's move, assistant football coach Mike Blizzard said: "We only have three other 1A schools in our county, so we've been playing a lot of 2A schools, anyway."

C. Milton Wright reached the state playoffs eight straight times through 1996, including a state title game appearance.

"We've played 4A schools Loyola and Calvert Hall and Severna Park in football," McNicholas said. "But Montgomery County has some very large schools with great talent."

A year ago, River Hill, Wilde Lake and Glenelg (1A champ) made Howard County the first in the state to win three boys soccer crowns in one season. Under the new format, however, River Hill, under coach Bill Stara, and Wilde Lake, under Dave Nesbitt, would compete for the same title.

Under Stara, River Hill became the first school in Maryland to win a soccer title in only its second year of existence, and that was only a season after it became the first school to reach an MPSSAA soccer final in its initial year.

With seven state championships, Wilde Lake, Centennial and Bowie of Prince George's County rank second only to Oakland Mills (eight) in number of soccer championships won.

"We can compete at whatever level you put us at," said Stara, who coached Centennial's championship teams. "If you have a good program, you'll be OK at any level."

Pub Date: 11/06/98

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