Decatur Could Move in State Alignment

BERLIN- It appears Stephen Decatur High School’s varsity sports teams will continue to compete in the state’s 3A division after Maryland’s classification committee released their recommendations for the 2013 seasons last week, but they could face a different set of opponents when it comes time for regional playoffs.

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) classification committee last week released their recommendations for proposed region and class realignments for 2013-2015 and it appears Decatur will remain Class 3A but will move from the 3A-East to the 3A-South. In 2007, Decatur moved from Class 2A to 3A, becoming the only school on the Eastern Shore at the time to make the jump to the higher classification based on enrollment figures.

The MPSSAA sets its classifications for public schools across Maryland based on enrollment figures with 4A being the largest schools and 1A being the schools with a lowest enrollments. In 2007, Decatur made the jump from 2A to 3A after its enrollment crept passed the lowest level for the higher classification. Many of the public schools in the Bayside Conference are 2A, while a few less populated schools such as Snow Hill and Pocomoke in Worcester are classified as 1A. Bayside South rival James M. Bennett has since made the jump to 3A after Decatur was reclassified.

After Decatur made the move to 3A, other 3A schools on the other side of the Chesapeake became familiar state playoff foes including Reservoir, River Hill, Atholton and Wilde Lake, for example. However, the latest proposal on the table for 2013-2015 has the Seahawks moving to the 3A-South region.

The proposed realignment divides each region into sectionals. Under the proposal, Decatur would move into the 3A-South Section I along with Bennett, Northeast of Anne Arundel County and Huntingtown and Northern, both of Calvert County. The 3A-South Section II would include three Charles County schools, La Plata, Lackey and Thomas Stone, along with Chopticon in St. Mary’s County and Crossland in Prince George’s County.

The classification proposal is based on school enrollment figures, and despite seeing its enrollment drop since the last realignment, Decatur remains in the 3A classification although it is near the bottom. With an enrollment of 977, Decatur is third from the bottom of all 3A schools in the state with Damascus the last 3A school at 964. The top 3A school is Poly in Baltimore at 1,253. The 2A school with the highest enrollment is Hereford in Baltimore County at 949. Bennett’s enrollment comes in at 1,102, putting it in the middle of the pack among the 3A schools.