Richmond is moving back to Class 5A in football.
After two years as a Class 4A program, the Red Devils are up a class as school classifications were announced Tuesday by the IHSAA for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
Richmond is one of 34 teams in Class 5A. Football now has six classes, with 32 teams in Class 6A and 64 teams in each of the other four classes.
“I knew we were kind of on the bubble,” RHS coach Matt Holeva said of moving up a class. “I knew there was the possibility. That’s just the way it worked out.”
Richmond is one of the final five teams to make the cut for Class 5A. Classifications are based on enrollment numbers and the recently instituted tournament success factor.
According to statistics provided by the IHSAA, Richmond’s enrollment is 1,516. Mishawaka (1,514), Fort Wayne Wayne (1,504), Jennings County (1,496) and Indianapolis Cathedral (1,238) are behind Richmond.
Cathedral moved to Class 5A based on the success factor.
“The biggest disparity in 5A previously, when Richmond was in 5A, was you have schools of nearly 5,000 students,” Holeva said. “That sixth class gets rid of those schools for all practical purposes.
” … You’re competing against schools of roughly the same size.”
Ben Davis is the largest school at an enrollment of 4,687, followed by Carmel (4,685), Warren Central (3,589), Indianapolis North Central (3,402) and Penn (3,401).
Future North Central Conference member Lafayette Jeff is the smallest Class 6A school, with Terre Haute North Vigo at the top of Class 5A.
Fellow NCC members Anderson, Kokomo and Huntington North join Richmond in Class 5A, as do future NCC schools McCutcheon and Harrison.
Sectional groupings are expected to be announced in the spring.
“Our expectations are to compete and be competitive, and to try to win a sectional championship for the first time in a long time,” Holeva said. “Whether we’re 4A or 5A, that doesn’t change the goal.”
Richmond captured its first NCC football title in more than a decade this past fall, going 7-0 in conference play.
The Red Devils also advanced to a sectional semifinal in Class 4A, before falling at Franklin County 14-13.
When the 2011-12 classifications were announced, Richmond was the 67th largest school in Indiana. RHS is now 62nd.
Richmond’s enrollment in 2011 was 1,542.
“I think the good news from Richmond High School’s standpoint is we went from 67th largest to 62nd in a two-year period,” said RHS athletic director Chad Bolser. “(It’s) one of those things that we’re staying steady with our population. That’s good news for us.”