No surprises for BR area at LHSAA classification meeting

Advocate staff photo by LIBBY ISENHOWERSt. Amant volleyball coach Allison Didier Leake questions a call during Monday’s  regional playoff against Dutchtown. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by LIBBY ISENHOWERSt. Amant volleyball coach Allison Didier Leake questions a call during Monday’s regional playoff against Dutchtown.

8 Baton Rouge area teams open tournament play

Baton Rouge schools stayed under the radar as moves to play up in classification by football powers like John Curtis and Evangel Christian grabbed top billing at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s first classification meeting.

The Wednesday meeting at the LHSAA office attracted a relatively small group of coaches and administrators, with many taking a wait-and- see attitude.

Redemptorist was the only Baton Rouge school to make a significant move.

The Wolves, who have Class 1A enrollment, declared to
play in Class 2A, where they have been for the past two seasons.

The fact the LHSAA’s executive committee rejected all seven school appeals of enrollment numbers meant there were no changes in placement for schools, other than those dictated by enrollment shifts or playing up.

“I think we had 16 schools who declared to play,” LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson said. “And before today, I think I had maybe five of those in my possession.

“That’s their decision (a school’s decision) to play up, and there’s not much I can say about that. You’re just dealing with numbers, so overall the process was smooth. There’s not a lot of speculation with that. The speculation is coming with the districting.”

Henderson said his office could have a preliminary districting plan put together as early as Thursday. He said the plan will be sent out to the LHSAA’s 389 schools and will be posted on its website at lhsaa.org. The second classification meeting is set for Nov. 28.

Wednesday’s meeting started with the executive committee rejecting appeals of enrollment numbers by West St. Mary, South Plaquemines, French Settlement, East Beauregard, Harrisonburg, Saline and Singer.

The enrollment figures used by the LHSAA were the
same ones submitted to Louisiana’s State Department of Education.

Most of the schools appealing numbers were those sitting on a boundary between one classification or another. For example, West St. Mary (3A to 2A), South Plaquemines (2A to 1A) and French Settlement (2A to B) were seeking to reduce their enrollment numbers so that they could possibily drop to the lower class.

Other schools watched the appeal process knowing a shift by some of those schools could alter their status. When no appeals were granted, the LHSAA approved its class-by-class breakdown for football and nonfootball schools. Also approved were divisions for other sports — swimming, volleyball and wrestling.

The fact 16 schools opted to play one class above their enrollment-based class did not alter the numbers, either. Once the executive committee ratified the basic dividing lines for each class, schools deciding to play up were simply added to their class of choice.

Redemptorist and Mount Hermon chose to move from 1A to 2A. Curtis and Evangel led a group of nine schools moving from 2A to 3A. Shreveport’s Loyola Prep opted to move from 3A to 4A, while Helen Cox joined the New Orleans parochial school contingent of Archbishop Shaw, Holy Cross and St. Augustine moving from 4A to 5A.

The classification picture for Baton Rouge schools didn’t change. As projected in the figures sent to schools by the LHSAA, University High moves from Class 2A to Class 3A.

“It’s official and we certainly can’t change the numbers,” UHS Athletic Director Jill White said. “While we wish we were 2A, where we have rivals like Episcopal and Dunham who we’ve played for years, we’re going to get ready to compete in 3A. That’s where we are.”

Other projected changes also held true. Among them were Broadmoor moving up to 5A. Istrouma, which dropped from 4A to 2A, made the largest single drop for an LHSAA school. East Feliciana (3A to 2A), St. James (3A to 2A) also changed classification.

Madison Prep, which fell into Class 1A by the margin of one student, is one of three new LHSAA football schools, joining Lafayette Christian and Grand Lake.