Latest KSHSAA numbers send Bonner Springs back to Class 4A
Bonner Springs High School has spent the past four years competing in Class 5A postseason competition, but now the Braves are headed back to Class 4A.
The Kansas State High School Activities Association on Monday released its 2010-2011 activities classifications for all events except for football, and the numbers added up to a change for BSHS.
The Braves dropped from being the second smallest Class 5A school a year ago to the largest school in Class 4A for the current year.
Bonner Springs has an enrollment of 530 sophomores, juniors and seniors. The smallest school in Class 5A — Topeka Highland Park — has 532 students in grades 10-12.
“I knew that it would be close,” said John Hilton, BSHS activities director. “Last year, we were the second or third smallest 5A school and our enrollment numbers dropped from last year. So with the addition of Blue Valley Southwest and the growth of the Wichita area, I thought there might be an outside chance we would drop down to 4A.”
The opening of Southwest (592) ultimately was a factor. The new school will debut in Class 5A. In addition, Valley Center (557) jumped from 4A to 5A.
Hilton said the impact on the BSHS athletic programs would vary from sport to sport.
“The move will present new challenges for some of our programs and present others with some opportunities they might not have had at the 5A level,” he said. “Since we compete in a 4A/5A league, our coaches and student-athletes know that there are talented teams in both classifications.”
For example, the BSHS boys soccer team currently is ranked fifth in the Class 5A state rankings, but the move to 4A will allow the undefeated Braves to avoid St. Thomas Aquinas, which has won seven straight state titles between Class 5A and Class 6A.
The Bonner Springs girls tennis team will now have to compete in a two-day, 10-team regional tournament as opposed to a one-day, seven-team tournament.
Tennis coach Bill Scott said he welcomed the change.
“It was something I wished for, but never expected,” he said. “My girls team will be better off, and my guys team will finally have a pretty good chance to get someone to state. The 5A regional we would have been in with Aquinas, Miege, Blue Valley, Gardner and Mill Valley would have been probably impossible for us to qualify anyone.”
Winfield (515) joined BSHS in dropping to Class 4A and is the second largest school in the classification.
Other notable changes around the state include Blue Valley dropping from Class 6A to Class 5A, while Hutchinson rises back up to Class 6A. Baxter Springs and Salina-St. Johns Military rose from Class 3A to Class 4A.
Bonner Springs was the only Kaw Valley League school impacted by the changes. Basehor-Linwood (438) will remain firmly planted in Class 4A as the 13th largest school in the 64-school division.
The move does not affect football. Football districts operate on two-year cycles for scheduling purposes, so BSHS will continue to compete in 5A on the gridiron.