AUGUSTA – The Maine Principals’ Association classification committee set the final enrollment numbers for all high school sports for the next two years Wednesday.
The group also acted on appeals by schools to be in Western or Eastern Maine for tournament competition, or to move up or down a class.
“The committee is guided by what’s best for each sport,” said the chairman, Bunky Dow of Mt. Desert Island High.
The committee also increased the enrollment figure for Class C outdoor track to accommodate Foxcroft Academy’s request to be in that class after being placed in Class B.
The enrollment cutoff went from 434 to 460. Foxcroft has an enrollment of 457.
With the increase, Mt. View of Thorndike, John Bapst of Bangor and Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield joined the Ponies in Class C after being placed in Class B.
In Western Maine, Yarmouth was affected. The Clippers, with an enrollment of 455, will be in Western Class C for outdoor track.
The committee also approved requests from Falmouth and Windham to play in the Western Class A tournament in soccer and field hockey, after initially placing both schools in Eastern Maine to balance numbers.
There would have been 15 schools in each region in soccer, and 13 in the East and 14 in the West in field hockey. With the change, Western A will have 17 soccer schools and the East 13.
In discussing the requests, the six-member committee considered opportunities for tournament play and the number of teams in each region.
Even with the change, there will be one less tournament qualifying spot in the East, and one more in the West for both field hockey and soccer.
The committee voted 5-1 on the soccer request and 4-2 for field hockey.
Falmouth has been a power in Class B soccer. The girls have won three straight state championships and the boys have won the last two.
The classification committee had set the enrollment for Class A soccer at 705 and up. That easily put Falmouth (727) in Class A for the next two years.
The April 2012 enrollment figures for schools were used.
“That’s good news,” said Falmouth Athletic Director Cooper Higgins. “It keeps us solidified in the same region in all the sports. We appreciate that. It’s easier to explain to people when our teams are all in the West.”
He said moving to Class A was a given when the enrollment cutoff was dropped.
Rich Drummond, the Windham athletic director, said staying in Western Maine in socccer and field hockey is consistent with the status quo.
“Since we’ve been a member of the SMAA, we’ve been classified as Western A. It’s something we’re happy about but recognize that times are changing,” he said.
In other action, Leavitt High of Turner requested to play field hockey in Western Maine, where it’s been for the last two years. Leavitt cited travel considerations.
The classification committee approved the request. The Hornets were slated to be in Eastern Maine.
The committee will send out the final draft to all MPA schools. Gerry Durgin of the MPA said schools have until Feb. 6 to request further modifications. If none are received, it will be sent to the MPA’s interscholastic management committee for final approval.
Durgin warned that challenges lie ahead for future classification decisions and schools should begin discussing the possibility of moving to different regions.
The state has changed dramatically since the 1980s, he said.
The classification committee already had approved the MPA football committee’s recommendation of going to four classes this fall.
The enrollment figures for football are Class A, 875 and up; Class B, 600-874; Class C, 450-599; and Class D, up to 449.
The biggest changes have Cheverus, Deering, Portland and Windham moving to Eastern Maine.
The enrollment cutoff was raised in Class A from 850 to 875, which allowed Brunswick, Gorham and Mt. Ararat to move to Class B. Kennebunk also will be in Class B, while South Portland, with an enrollment of 855 and Biddeford (830) petitioned to stay in Class A. Oceanside High (Rockland and Thomaston) wanted to compete in Western Class B. The football committee approved that request.
There will be eight teams in both Class A regions, 11 teams in Western Class B, nine in Eastern Class B, and 10 each in each region of Class C and D.
Other than an away game at Bangor every other year, Drummond doesn’t see a lot of added travel for Windham.
“There are three SMAA members joining us in Eastern A,” he said.
“I feel four classes will be good for the sport. There has been a lot of work done on this by the committees.”
Todd Livingston, the South Portland athletic director and chairman of the football committee, said the next step is for league representatives to devise schedules.
“This has been a four-year process,” he said. “Initially there was a little apprehension. It’s dramatic to go to four classes. We wanted what was in the best interest of football.”
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: