Jayson West figured it was coming. That doesn’t mean he has to like it.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association executive committee approved sectional groups in eight team sports Monday for the next two-year cycle.
In the new six-class football format, Warren Central and Lawrence Central are grouped together in Class 6A Sectional 6, along with Lawrence North and North Central. That means West, the new coach at Warren Central, could face his old team at Lawrence Central.
“It’s a tough deal,” West said. “It’s just a game and you can’t get caught up with whoever you play, but it’s also not that simple. I’ve spent a lot of time with those kids (at Lawrence Central). I’m sure there will be a lot of emotion if we play because we really grew together.”
Lawrence Central won the 5A state title last season, defeating Warren Central 21-14 in the second round of the sectional. The previous week, Warren Central knocked off top-ranked Carmel 31-24 in three overtimes.
Under the new alignment, Carmel will move to Sectional 4 with Fishers, Hamilton Southeastern and Noblesville. Those are the only four local schools on the top half of the 6A bracket.
The potential for Carmel-HSE or Carmel-Fishers in the tournament would no doubt attract a huge crowd.
“It’s going to make for some big battles,” Carmel coach Kevin Wright said. “As a guy who grew up in Hamilton County, this is a huge football county. If you have those teams playing each other and the weather cooperates, you’re going to have some big crowds.”
Sectional 5 is Avon, Ben Davis, Brownsburg and Pike; Sectional 7 is Franklin Central, Tech, Perry Meridian and Southport; and Sectional 8 is Center Grove, Columbus North, Jeffersonville and New Albany.
In 5A football, Cathedral was placed in Sectional 13 with Anderson, Decatur Central, Richmond and Zionsville. Traditional powers Bishop Chatard and Roncalli are together in 4A Sectional 22.
Locally in basketball, Mt. Vernon will move up to 4A and into Sectional 9 with Anderson, Connersville, Greenfield-Central, New Castle, Pendleton Heights and Richmond. Another major change has Brownsburg and Avon moving out of Sectional 11 and into Sectional 12 with Martinsville, Mooresville, Plainfield, Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South. Park Tudor and Broad Ripple remain together in 2A Sectional 42.
The IHSAA board of directors also approved a proposal that will allow home-schooled students to compete on athletic teams as long as certain criteria are met:
* The student provides proof to the IHSAA that eligibility rules will not be compromised.
* The student must have been home schooled for three consecutive years.
* The student completes all state-wide examinations as authorized by the Department of Education.
* The student’s family submits grade information to the school.
* The student must be enrolled at the host school for a minimum of one class per day.
IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox said the stipulations in place will assure that there “is no gerrymandering” with the definition of a home-schooled student.
“This will allow the true home-schooled student an opportunity,” Cox said. “With the three-year provision, a parent can’t just pull their student out of school if they are unhappy and sign them up somewhere else as a home-schooled student. That’s not the intent of the rule.”
Football, which goes from five classes to six for the first time this fall, was the sport most impacted with the sectional rearrangement unveiled by the Indiana High School Athletic Association on Monday for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. Here is a look at the new 6A local sectional groupings:
Sectional 4 – Carmel, Fishers, Hamilton Southeastern, Noblesville
Sectional 5 – Avon, Ben Davis, Brownsburg, Pike
Sectional 6 – Lawrence Central, Lawrence North, North Central, Warren Central
Sectional 7 – Franklin Central, Tech, Perry Meridian, Southport
Sectional 8 – Center Grove, Columbus North, Jeffersonville, New Albany
Last year’s local 5A sectionals:
Sectional 4 – Fishers, Hamilton Southeastern, Westfield, Noblesville, McCutcheon, Lafayette Jeff, Anderson, West Lafayette Harrison
Sectional 5 – Lawrence Central, Carmel, Warren Central, North Central, Southport, Perry Meridian, Tech, Lawrence North
Sectional 6 – Ben Davis, Brownsburg, Pike, Zionsville, Terre Haute North, Avon, Terre Haute South, Decatur Central
Sectional 7 – Center Grove, Martinsville, Columbus North, Franklin Central, Whiteland, Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Franklin