Every two years, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) re-aligns the competitive sections throughout the state. The goal of re-alignment is to try to maintain an equitable number of teams in each section in each activity while taking school location into account. There are several things that can impact re-alignment: 1) School enrollment increasing or decreasing; 2) Cooperative sponsorships starting or dissolving and; 3) Schools adding or dropping programs.
It is important to note that each activity is unique and that 7AA basketball may be significantly different than 7AA in baseball. Each activity has its own number of participants and variables. The other thing to be aware of is that each activity has its own number of classes ranging from seven classes in football to one class in skiing.
Given our location in the state, Pequot Lakes is a school that has potential to move from one section to another. Geographically we are on the southeast corner of what is traditionally section 8, the southwest corner of section 7 and the northern edge of section 6. Anytime a section needs to increase or decrease its numbers, we are one of the “swing” schools that could move. This re-alignment was no exception as eight of our activities will be in new sections starting in the fall of 2015.
These Pequot Lakes activities will have a new section assignment for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years: tennis 8A to 7A; boys and girls basketball 8AA to 7AA; boys hockey 6A to 8AA; boys and girls golf 7AA to 8AA; and speech moves from 7A to 6A. With the exception of boys and girls golf, all of these activities have been in their “new section” in previous years.
Re-alignment impacts us most directly by changing the teams that make up a section. Secondly, it is important to note that each section is responsible for determining the format of the section tournament, the seeding procedures, and the dates and sites for tournament events. Most notably it impacts our schedule. Some schools may choose not to play us because of our section placement. Other schools may want to add us to their schedule for the same reason. Moving up or down a class has the most impact on a schedule, as schools typically want to play a school in the same class. The multi-class system also impacts scheduling as some schools may now view an opponent as “too big” or “too small”.
MSHSL re-alignment will occur again in March of 2017. My guess is that several of our activities will move again at that time. It can be confusing for the average fan to try to keep track of section opponents in each activity. The other part that may cause confusion when you try to find a tournament bracket on the MSHSL website is that each tournament is run by an administrative region. For example, Pequot Lakes is in administrative region 6A. Region 6A oversees numerous tournaments, the most recent being 8AA girls basketball. If you went to the MSHSL website and looked under Region 8AA, Section 8AA girls basketball would be nowhere to be found….but that might be a topic for another article.
See you at the games!
-- Marc Helmrichs, Activities Director