Last week the Kansas State High School Activities Association announced updated classifications for Kansas sports and activities based on the enrollment at each high school in the state.
Last year, 5A and 6A had 32 schools while 3A and 4A had 64. In 2A, there were 63 and 1A had 97.
Now 4A to 6A all have 36 schools, 2A to 3A have 64 and 1A is up to 117. Football is not affected due to the separate classification taking place in two-year cycles.
With the reclassification, Leavenworth and Basehor-Linwood both jumped up a class. Leavenworth is now the smallest 6A and joins Olathe West, Mill Valley, Liberal and Wyandotte as 5A schools to bump up. Basehor-Linwood was one of eight schools to jump to 5A and one of nine to join the class with Wichita Northwest dropping down.
The reclassification takes place immediately for non-football KSHSAA sports, which will alter the rest of the season for fall sports.
“It affects everybody,” Leavenworth athletic director James Vanek said. “Obviously, it goes from playing a predominantly 5A schedule to then going to a 6A postseason. So it is kind of hard to really diagnose where we are going to be because we don’t really see 6A competition. The only thing we will be able to do is to go look and see if we can find common scores or how common opponents might match up against 6A if they’ve played those games. And try to find film of 6A opponents. Should be more homework on our behalf to do.”
Vanek said that his wrestling coach should be happy about the jump. The athletic director said the coach has been asking about a jump to 6A for the last few years since the coach views the competition tougher in 5A.
One of the first changes will go into effect this weekend for the Leavenworth tennis team. With the jump up to 6A, the Pioneers will travel to Mill Valley for the regional tournament and participate in a two-day tournament on Friday and Saturday compared to just a Saturday tournament in 5A.
For Basehor-Linwood, athletic director Ross Schwisow said this was easy to see coming.
“It is kind of something that us and the community have been expecting,” Schwisow said. “We’ve probably increased about 50 students from last year. We had a smaller senior class and an incoming freshmen class of about 200 so with the shift from 32 to 36 teams, we knew that we would probably be with that batch. From a standpoint of competition, having been in a 4A and 5A league, I feel like it will be more just playing teams that we haven’t played before. There is competition in both of them across the board, so now it will be a little more of it being a different school. I think competitively, it will be pretty balanced across the board.”
Schwisow said that with Basehor-Linwood joining the United Kansas Conference and the anticipation of this happening, the school had worked to schedule as many 5A and 6A schools in non-league games to help. They also still scheduled schools that they have a traditional series with in 4A. He described the competition in the 4A to 5A range as full of quality teams and said the coaches try to schedule the best competition possible.
He is excited for what it will mean when the playoffs come in a few weeks as the jump will allow Basehor-Linwood to play some schools that they never have played.
“Like Blue Valley Southwest,” Schwisow said. “I don’t think Basehor-Linwood has ever played Blue Valley Southwest in anything. … So that’s kind of the fun part. We may end up playing someone that we’ve never played before.”