Modest changes are in the offing for the next two years of high school sports in the state, according to a proposal by the classification committee of the Maine Principals’ Association.

That proposal, completed by the committee after three meetings to consider the recommendations of individual sports committees, will be presented for approval to the MPA’s general membership on April 28, and if approved would be effective for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.

Classification in all sports is based on enrollment, with cutoffs for the next two-year cycle based on schools’ enrollments as of April 1, 2010.

“I think it’s about the same as it usually is,” said MPA assistant executive director Jeff Sturgis of the volume of changes for the the next two-year cycle. “I always tell the classification committee before we go into this that it usually comes down to two issues: We can’t solve geography, and no wants to be the smallest school in a class.”

Among schools on the move, Foxcroft Academy and Washington Academy of East Machias would go from Eastern Maine Class C to Class B in most sports, while Morse of Bath would move from Eastern A to Eastern B, Bucksport and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln would shift from Eastern B to Eastern C, and Hodgdon, Penobscot Valley of Howland and Woodland will drop from Eastern C to Eastern D.

Hampden Academy will move from Eastern B to Eastern A in cross country, field hockey, indoor track and outdoor track, while Oceanside High School — the merger of Rockland and Georges Valley of Thomaston high schools set to begin this fall — has been placed in Eastern Maine Class B in most sports.

In Western Maine, Lisbon would move from Class B to Class C in most sports.

The proposal also includes some modifications to the football committee’s recommendation to maintain a three-class system for the sport. As originally proposed, Brewer and Mt. Blue of Farmington would drop from Eastern A to Eastern B, with Old Town moving from Eastern C back to Eastern B and Oceanside of Rockland-Thomaston being placed in Eastern B.

In addition, Winslow would drop from Eastern B to Eastern C while the new Hermon program also would join the Eastern C ranks. In the West, Marshwood of Eliot and Westbrook would move from Class A to Class B.

But Mountain Valley of Rumford and Wells would remain in Western B rather than drop to Class C as recommended by the football committee, while Morse of Bath would stay in Eastern B rather than move to the West and Madison-Carrabec would move from Western C to Eastern B rather than to Western B.

The classification committee’s proposal would split up the state’s 76 varsity football programs in the following way: 10 schools in Eastern A, 14 in Western A, 14 in Eastern B, 12 in Western B, 12 in Eastern C and 14 in Western C.

Another recommendation by the classification seeks to even out the number of wrestling teams in Eastern and Western Maine Class C in order to restore regional championships in those divisions rather than have a unified qualifying meet in order to advance wrestlers to the state championships as has been the case for the last two years.

 Under the proposal, Winslow, currently in Western B, would move to Western C, while Mount View of Thorndike would shift from drop by enrollment from Eastern B to Western C.

In addition, four traditionally Eastern Maine programs, Bucksport, Calvary Chapel of Orrington, George Stevens of Blue Hill and John Bapst of Bangor, would be shifted from Eastern C to Western C.

This would leave Eastern C wrestling with 11 schools and Western C with 10 rather than the current split of 14 Eastern C schools and five from the West.

The move would be similar to what has been done in Class A, where two years ago Westbrook and Windham were moved from Western Maine to Eastern Maine to help even out the number of schools in each region. Westbrook was the 2010 Eastern Maine Class A champion.

“We have two problems with wrestling, and they’re the opposite problems,” said Sturgis. “In Class A we’ve had Windham and Westbrook in the East for the last two years because the East has much lower numbers wrestling than the West and the East/West line basically runs through the middle of Portland. In Class C, you have the opposite problem because there are many more (wrestling) schools in the East than in the West and the East/West line runs north of Bangor.”

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...