It’s not quite the equivalent of Christmas morning, but Monday’s announcement by the Indiana High School Athletic Association of the sectional groupings for the next two-year cycle was eagerly anticipated by high school teams around the state.
Here are 10 major storylines involving area schools in the new classifications:
• Cathedral and Warren Central are in different football sectionals: I was curious to see where Cathedral was slotted as it moved up from Class 5A to 6A under the IHSAA’s tournament success factor. I thought it could end up with Warren Central. Instead, Cathedral’s arrival in Sectional 6 with Lawrence Central, Lawrence North and North Central bumped Warren Central to Sectional 7 with Franklin Central, Perry Meridian and Southport. That’s a tough break for Southport, a two-time defending sectional champ which now has to deal with perennial power Warren Central. Looking down the road a bit, Warren Central could meet Center Grove in the regional round.
• The toughest football sectional? How about Class 3A Sectional 29? After two years in Class 4A, Bishop Chatard moves back down and joins Guerin Catholic, Brebeuf Jesuit and Tri-West — all strong programs. Chatard owns a record 12 state championships (tied with Cathedral) and Tri-West has four, including last season. Tri-West knocked off Brebeuf (in the sectional) and Guerin (in the regional) last year on its way to the title.
Last November, New Palestine and Columbus East played an epic football game in the Class 4A semistate (won by New Pal). Now the programs — both moved up by the tournament success factor – are in the same Sectional 14 in Class 5A, along with Franklin, Martinsville and Whiteland.
• Roncalli won’t have to contend with either Cathedral or Bishop Chatard in its football sectional the next two years. The Rebels are grouped in Class 4A Sectional 21 with Beech Grove Frankfort, Greenwood, Lebanon, Mooresville, Northview and Western.
*Cathedral, which moves up to Class 6A this year due to the tournament success factor, will play in Sectional 6 with Lawrence Central, Lawrence North and North Central.
*Warren Central bumps to Sectional 7, where it is grouped with Franklin Central, Perry Meridian and Southport.
*Sectional 4 (Carmel, Fishers, Hamilton Southeastern and Noblesville) and Sectional 5 (Avon, Ben Davis, Brownsburg and Pike) are unchanged.
*Tech, which drops to Class 5A, is grouped with Decatur Central, Plainfield and Zionsville in Sectional 13.
*New Palestine, which moves up to 5A due to the tournament success factor, is included in Sectional 14 with Columbus East, Franklin, Martinsville and Whiteland.
*Roncalli is in Sectional 21 in Class 4A with Beech Grove, Frankfort, Greenwood, Lebanon, Mooresville, Northview and Western.
*Bishop Chatard drops back down to Class 3A and is in Sectional 29 with Brebeuf Jesuit, Danville, Greencastle, Guerin Catholic, Northwest, Tri-West and West Vigo.