New classifications move Heights to 5A
Recent enrollment declines dropped Heights High from a Class 6A to 5A school when new classifications were announced Friday.
But for boys basketball coach Joe Auer, who is in his 25th year teaching and coaching at Heights, thinking of Heights as anything but 6A is odd.
“To reference us as 5A does feel very strange and different,” Auer said. “It will take some getting used to.”
Classifications for all sports except football are for the 2013-14 school year and enrollment figures are based on ninth through 12th grades.
The football classifications, which are based only enrollment for ninth through 11th grades, are for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Heights, which also dropped to 5A for football, wasn’t the only area school to change Kansas State High School Activities Association classes.
Andover Central moves from 5A down to 4A for all sports, while Collegiate drops for all sports from 4A to 3A.
Maize South football moves up to 5A — its other sports have been 5A since 2012 — and Maize football drops from 6A to 5A.
The classification changes won’t be felt so much until the postseason arrives, though.
“We still play in the toughest league in the state in basketball,” Auer said. “We will still play everybody twice, will still go to Dodge City (tournament) this year. Really for us, the only difference is we’re not playing for an opportunity to go to Koch Arena (for the 6A tournament), we’re playing for an opportunity to go to Topeka.”
The football classification change could mean a new look for a City League schedule. District assignments for 2014 and 2015 will be announced Oct. 9.
If Northwest makes the likely move into Class 6A-District 8 with Dodge City, Garden City and Hutchinson — replacing Maize — Northwest will have to find a Week 2 opponent to replace Dodge City.
And with Heights dropping into 5A, it could mean a district with no City League opponents, so it would play its first six games against league teams with no week to play Dodge City, for example.
“It could affect the whole philosophy of the league,” City League athletic director J Means said. “I could realistically be staring at three or four teams with only six league games. If half your league only has six league games, what do we do with the league championship?”
Means said that possible schedules could include three teams with a non-league opponent in order to keep the number of league games the same.
“I’ve been in discussion with Hutchinson,” Means said. “Hutch would love to play Bishop Carroll. Probably the only way that happens is if I go to a week where we have three (non-league games).”
The football classifications showed the split for the first time into two divisions, which takes effect next fall. Only five Wichita-area teams are in the smaller Division II, including Andale, Clearwater and Trinity Academy.