By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
Madison Southern High School’s track and cross-country teams will be competing in a new region and have a higher classification beginning this season.
Following a new track and cross-country alignment approved earlier this week by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control, Southern has been moved from Class 2A Region 6 to Class 3A.
The Eagles will now be competing in Class 3A Region 7 along with Madison Central, East and West Jessamine, Harlan County, Lincoln County, North and South Laurel, Pulaski County, Southwestern and Whitley County.
The new alignment comes after months of discussion with school officials across the state in regard to a draft realignment the KHSAA had proposed earlier in the year.
That draft would have decreased the enrollment differences between the largest and smallest schools in Class 1A and Class 3A. The realignment would have resulted in “extremely large regions in Class 2A or additional regions,” a move that was not very popular, the board stated in a news release.
Instead, the board approved a realignment which left the dividing line between Class 1A and 2A at its current 610 students, which means Berea Community and Model Laboratory will remain in Class 1A Region 6.
The board chose to raise slightly the dividing line between Class 2A and 3A from 1,025 students 1,050 students.
The increase means several schools, including Southern were moved into new classifications. The board made a handful of geographic adjustments to help with travel situations in Class 3A, the release stated, which moved eight schools, including nearby George Rogers Clark, into new regions.
“Alignments, particularly in track/cross-country and football that also divide schools into classes, are never easy projects,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett, in the release. “The input received from the member schools was invaluable in helping us work with our Board on a plan that while not pleasing everyone, represents the best interests of the collective membership.”
According to the KHSAA track and field has the highest participation numbers of any individual sport sanctioned by the KHSAA with nearly 12,000 competitors, and is the third highest in all sports in terms of participation behind only football and basketball.
Cross Country has the second highest participation numbers among the individual sports with nearly 5,800 participants during 2012-2013.