Danville, Monticello feel enrollment sting

Last year, schools such as Clinton, Danville, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, St. Thomas More and Tuscola were among the ones upset with the IHSA's postseason assignments, which are based on enrollments.

This year, Danville and Monticello are among the ones unhappy with how the enrollment breaks worked out.

The IHSA this week released an updated enrollment list that will be used to determine whether schools are assigned to Class 1A, 2A, 3A or 4A for all sports except football for the upcoming 2012-13 school year. Football remains the only sport where the divisions are not determined in advance and won't be known until the 256 qualifiers are set Oct. 20.

Monticello, which had an individual and a relay win Class 1A state championships this spring in boys' track and field, will seek medals next school year as a Class 2A school. The school's enrollment (559) is just above the predetermined break (545) to compete in 1A for track and field.

The Sages will be the third-smallest entry in 2A and will compete against opposition with enrollments as large as 1,425. That means Monticello and East St. Louis (1,417) will go head-to-head next spring.

Track and field is a sport with three classes, as is boys' golf — another sport where the Sages are assigned to Class 2A.

The enrollment cutoffs differ for various sports. For example, in boys' and girls' basketball, schools with as many as 599 students were assigned to Class 2A in that four-class tournament. There will be only 12 larger 2A schools in basketball than Monticello.

Prairie Central (607) will compete as the smallest Class 3A team.

However, schools are not guaranteed to be in the same class for all sports that crown four state champions. In volleyball, the cutoff to stay in 2A is 530 students, sending Monticello to 3A in that sport and a possible regional assignment against Centennial (1,387).

Right on the bubble for volleyball is Urbana Uni High (246). For the next school year, schools with at least 247 students will compete in 2A. The Illineks will stay in 1A.

For Danville's Vikings, the spring yo-yo continues. In 2010, the school was Class 3A for baseball and captured a regional title. In 2011, it shifted to 4A and was eliminated in regionals. However, this year it was assigned to 3A and advanced to the super-sectional. Next year, the baseball program returns to 4A for Area Player of the Year Chuckie Robinson III's senior season.

In wrestling, however, Danville (1,622) had the highest enrollment possible to compete in 2A.

One change the IHSA instituted was to eliminate schools competing in different classes in the same — or a similar — sport. This spring, Danville was 3A in baseball and 4A in softball. During the winter, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley and Tuscola were 1A for girls' basketball and 2A for boys' basketball.

For the next school year, Tuscola (289) is just above the enrollment break (283) to join the 1A postseason field. Westville (288) also will be in 2A for basketball. In softball and baseball, Westville and Tuscola will be the state's third- and fourth-smallest 2A competitors. The student body cutoff in baseball and softball is at 285 students.

GCMS (305) also will be in 2A for all basketball tournament games in 2013.

Some schools benefited from declining enrollments. Clinton and St. Thomas More were assigned to Class 2A this year for the track and field series, but each is well under the cutoff (545) to return to 1A for the three-class 2013 state series. St. Thomas More's enrollment — which includes an IHSA-imposed multiplier assigned to private schools — is 485.10. Clinton's student body consists of 504 students.

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