By Justin Whitaker
— New sectional assignments were released and approved by the IHSAA Executive Committee earlier this week for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.
Boys’ and girls’ basketball and soccer, volleyball, softball, baseball and football were all affected.
The 2013-14 school year will be the first of six classes in football with all of the county teams majorly affected.
None of the six county football head coaches were surprised at the new alignments but all were intrigued about the possible matchups.
Avon and Brownsburg make up half of Class 6A’s Sectional 5. Along with Ben Davis and Pike, Sectional 5 is one of the best, if not the toughest, sectional from top to bottom in all of the classes.
“We’re going to play two mega schools and our rival,” Brownsburg coach Brett Comer said. “I don’t know that anybody else in the state can say that other than Avon.” Sectional 4 features Carmel, Fishers, Hamilton Southeastern and Noblesville as one of the other top sectional groupings. While Sectional 4 features two of the last four Class 5A state champions (Carmel in 2011 and Fishers in ‘10), Sectional 5’s quartet have won more games, loss less games and has a better winning percentage than Sectional 4’s grouping the past two seasons. Sectional 5 has gone a combined 67-25 for a 73 percent winning percentage and Sectional 4 has gone a combined 65-30 for a 68 percent winning percentage during that two-year span.
“Obviously it’s got to be one of the more difficult 6A sectionals and that’s no disrespect to anybody else,” Comer said. “But those are four teams that have had very, very good years in a very short history of just the past couple of years.”
Familiarity continues for the Bulldogs and Orioles as the four teams all shared a sectional previously. Avon has played the other teams a combined eight times the past three seasons and Brownsburg has played the other teams a combined five times the past three seasons.
“If you look at it from an athletic director’s standpoint, those three games in the sectional should be a great game,” Avon coach Mark Bless said. “With the locality of the four schools I think it’s going to be a great draw for fan support.”
Plainfield, the largest school in Class 4A, will share Sectional 22 with one of 4A’s newest editions: Danville. The Quakers and Warriors met last season, play again this year and now the county rivals could meet in the sectional.
“As a fan of football, I think it’s a pretty neat deal when you have an opportunity for two schools from the same county to play each other in the tournament,” Plainfield coach Brian Woodard said. “Very similar to some of the great matchups Avon and Brownsburg have had over the years.”
Other teams that make up the sectional include Lebanon, Mooresville, Northview and Roncalli, a team the Quakers have played thrice in sectionals the past three years. Bishop Chatard and Northwest make the same jump Danville did from 3A.
“It’s a tough situation but I think it sets us up pretty well,” Danville coach Russ Sumner said. “I think there are teams that we can matchup with and there are other teams that we will struggle to matchup with. But I’m kind of happy that we’ve got the challenge there.”
Three-in-a-row Class 4A state champion Cathedral, from Plainfield’s previous sectional, was bumped up to 5A, but two parochial schools — Roncalli and now Bishop Chatard — remain in the sectional.
“All I know is our sectional is extremely competitive,” Woodard said. “There are some very good football teams in it so from my perspective not a lot has changed other than the number.”
Tri-West remains in Class 3A and has four new additions to its Sectional 29. Because Danville, Northwest and Bishop Chatard all moved up and Arlington dropped down, Western Boone, North Montgomery, Crawfordsville and Edgewood help make up the sectional. Returning like Tri-West is West Vigo, Greencastle and Brebeuf Jesuit.
With Bishop Chatard, winners of three straight state titles, moving out of the sectional, it changes the entire dynamic.
“I don’t think anybody in Sectional 29 got helped,” Tri-West coach Chris Coll said. “I think the big thing was Chatard who, I would never concede a game before we played them, but they were who they were. Now our sectional just opens wide open for anybody to take.”
In Class 2A, Cascade received three new teams in Sectional 37. Joining Ritter, Park Tudor, South Vermillion, Speedway and the Cadets is Cloverdale, Indianapolis Washington and Monrovia.