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OHSAA approves new divisional realignment

August 27, 2015
By Nik Zirounis - Town Crier correspondent , The Town Crier

The Ohio High School Athletic Association board of directors approved Aug. 13 new divisional assignments for some state schools.

This realignment was based on updated school enrollment figures. These figures do not include charter schools, community schools nor STEM school students in the public schools where they reside.

The local schools affected the most by this decision are Warren G. Harding and Cardinal Mooney. Harding is now a member of Division II after playing in Division I for years. The Cardinals have ascended to Division IV after spending last season in Division V.

This grouping will allow Mooney a possible playoff showdown with archrival Ursuline. These two parochial giants haven't squared off in the postseason since 1995. Longtime Mooney head coach P.J. Fecko was philosophical about moving up the divisional ladder.

''We're seeing some familiar faces that we saw (in the past),'' Fecko said. ''There are some good teams (in Division IV).''

Divisional assignments for the next two-year cycle were actually decided upon in June. The decision by the board this month reversed an earlier idea to include those students in the above-mentioned STEM and charter schools in public school enrollment counts. The updated figures forced a recalculation of divisional dividing lines, causing the move of schools like Harding and Mooney.

There has been some talk in Columbus that the OHSAA is currently trying to devise a plan to determine the best way to include the charter school and STEM school students in future enrollment counts. Basically, that would send the divisional alignment, as we know it now, into a tizzy.

Warren G. Harding will have some very good company in Division II. Former Division I standout school Boardman has spent the past couple of campaigns in the lower tier. Although the Spartans have been playing mostly a Division I regular season schedule, they would be one of the bigger Division II outfits in that region's playoffs.

Of course, the Spartans have been struggling lately as they try to rebuild under third-year head coach Joe Ignazio. The coach's biggest complaint about the adjustment to playing in Division II had to do with losing kids to institutions that welcome everyone.

''We are very unique being a bounded public school in a world of open enrollment,'' the coach said. ''This will be our third year (in Division II). Either way we have to play against the opponents we schedule.We have no control over the numbers game.''



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