Enrollment figures change classifications

Area prep athletics affected

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Yates Center High’s Wildcats playing eight-man football? Uniontown High’s Eagles going to Class 3A football? Yates Center High’s volleyball, cross country, basketball and track teams playing in Class 1A playoffs?
Two sets of figures released this week will shift area high school activities a bit for the next couple of years. That means shuffling in athletic competitions as well.
The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) released the 2009-2010 classifications and enrollment figures Monday. It also sent out the high school football classifications and enrollment figures for 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.
Though Iola High did lose students, it remains lodged in the middle of the Kansas Class 4A classifications. The rankings are based on the number of students enrolled in 10th, 11th and 12th grades. As of Sept. 21, the IHS enrollment for those three was 281.
In Kansas, 64 schools with enrollments ranging from 190 to 506 students are in the 4A division. The rest of the schools in the Southeast Kansas League, except Pittsburg, are in Class 4A. Pittsburg High, with 583 students, is a Class 5A school.
Humboldt, Marmaton Valley and Uniontown remain classified as Class 2A. Uniontown had 117 students while Humboldt had 105 students and Marmaton Valley had 98 registered. There are 64 Class 2A schools this year, ranging in enrollment from 77 to 120 students.
Yates Center High dropped into Class 1A, which was predicted by USD 366 Superintendent of Schools Rusty Arnold this summer. Yates Center is the largest 1A school with 76 students.
Right behind Yates Center is Southern Coffey County High in Le Roy with 75 students and Crest High in Colony at 71 students. There are 101 Class 1A schools in Kansas ranging in enrollment from 19 to 76 students.
What do these numbers mean as far as athletics for the area schools?
Except for football, Yates Center will compete in 1A competitions.
The Wildcat volleyball team has been given a slot in the upcoming Class 1A regional volleyball tournament. Yates Center’s cross country runners will be in the 1A regional and state races. Yates Center’s girls still play in the Class 3-2-1A golf regional.
The Wildcat basketball teams will be in Class 1A competitions at the end of the season as well as track in the spring. Baseball and softball remain the same since the classification for those sports are Class 2-1A.

KANSAS HIGH SCHOOL football classifications determine in two-year cycles district and state play. Schools are tied in for two years at a level and in a district, unless something drastic happens.
To determine football classifications the KSHSAA uses enrollment figures from this year’s 9th, 10th and 11th grades in each school. There were two big moves by area schools heading toward the 2010 and 2011 football seasons.
Uniontown High’s Eagles, with an enrollment of 126 in those three classes, have been bumped up to Class 3A. Yates Center High’s 85 students in those three classes puts it in a position to play eight-man football, though it could continue in the Class 2-1A division.
“We saw the decline in numbers in our school and decided to drop down to play eight-man football. We’re hoping it will be a temporary situation. If our numbers hold steady from the lower grades coming up we could move back into 11-man football after a couple of years,” Arnold told the Register Thursday.
Arnold, who has coached the YCHS football team the past few years, said the Wildcats will stay in the Tri-Valley League, which has Class 2A and Class 3A schools. He said the state sets the districts and for Eight-Man Division I. Most districts have seven teams.
“That means we’ll have six games scheduled already in district play then have to pick up three more. The bad thing about being independent is that there are no all-league teams or league championships,” Arnold said. “But we believe it will give our kids a shot at being competitive on the football field.”
Yates Center joins Marmaton Valley, Southern Coffey County and Crest in Eight-Man Division I football for 2010 and 2011. Humboldt stays in Class 2-1A football competition.
Uniontown knew it was on the edge in terms of numbers to be either a small 3A or a big 2-1A school for football classifications, according to Jim Mason, UHS athletic director and former Eagle football coach.
“Looking at our numbers, we thought we were on the bubble. The surprising thing was the low-end breaking point for 3A schools this year,” Mason said. “Opinions vary as to whether it’s a good thing or not but we’re going to be fine.”
Shifts in enrollments will make a difference in the Tri-Valley League and Three Rivers League for 2010 and 2011. Yates Center’s drop to eight-man leaves the Tri-Valley with seven 11-man teams, which includes Humboldt. Pleasanton dropped back down to eight-man, leaving the TRL with just three 11-man teams and pushing its eight-man division to six teams.
Along with Iola in Class 4A are Columbus (263), Parsons (310), Coffeyville (401), Labette County (403), Fort Scott (424) Independence (439) and Chanute (470) of the SEK.
Districts for each football classification will be announced late next week by the KSHSAA.