January 23, 2013

HIGH SCHOOLS: Classification plan finalized

By Travis Lazarczyk tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- The proposal to add a fourth class to Maine high school football took another step forward Wednesday, albeit with a few tweaks.

The Maine Principals' Association Classification Committee approved the plan, along with classification numbers for every MPA sponsored sport, at a meeting Wednesday morning.

The revised classification plan will be sent back to the schools, before going to the management committee on March 14.

The football classification plan was recently adjusted by the football committee to reflect recent changes in enrollment. The cutoff for Class A was raised from 850 to 875. Class B will be schools with 600-874 student. Class C will be schools with 450-599 students, and Class D will be schools with 449 or less students, down from 459.

With the new numbers, Foxcroft Academy and Yarmouth moved up to Class C. Brunswick, Mt. Ararat and Gorham dropped from Class A to Class B. Mt. Ararat originally planned to petition down to Class B, where it feels it will be more competitive.

The classification committee approved the requests of Mt. Ararat and Oceanside of Rockland to play in Western Class B. Those schools, along with Morse of Bath, said they'd rather play in Western B than Eastern B, where they feel they have less of a chance at being competitive. Eastern B will include Lawrence, Cony, Brunswick and Messalosnkee, the four teams that reached the Pine Tree Conference Class A playoffs in 2012, as well as defending Class B state champion Mt. Blue.

If placed in Eastern B, Mt. Ararat, Oceanside and Morse would petition to play in Class C, Gerry Durgin, MPA assistant executive director and liaison to the committee, said.

"Then you're right back where we are now," Durgin said.

In central Maine, Waterville will no longer petition up to Class A in boys ice hockey, boys soccer, or girls soccer. With declining enrollment, Erskine Academy will compete in Class B across the board.

The committee considered requests from a number of schools. Limestone's petition to remain in Class D despite a larger enrollment due to the inclusion of students from the Maine School of Science and Mathematics was passed on to the management committee, where it has been approved in recent years. Limestone is in a unique situation, in that many of the students are gone weeks at a time because of a schedule that more resembles a college semester. Therefore, those students are not on campus to compete in athletics.

Leavitt of Turner will remain in Western B for field hockey, and Bangor Christian will stay in Eastern D for soccer, although the committee noted that if the number of Class D schools in Eastern Maine continues to grow, some schools will have to shift regions.

Falmouth's appeal to move to Western A in field hockey and soccer was approved, as was Windham's request to remain in Western A in field hockey.

The committee changed the cutoff numbers for outdoor track and field. The proposed Class C cutoff of 434 would have put Foxcroft Academy in Class B. As the only school in Eastern Maine in Class C with a competition-suitable track, Foxcroft requested to remain in Class C.

"This move may benefit Foxcroft, but it also benefits 12 other schools," committee chairman Bunky Dow, athletic director at Mt. Desert Island High School, said.

The committee moved the cutoff for Class C to 460. The move means Foxcroft, Mt. View, John Bapst and Maine Central Institute would compete in Eastern C, while Yarmouth dropped to Western C. Those schools have the option of petitioning up to Class B, Dow said.

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242



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