The Hereford girls have won four straight state titles (2015-18), all in the 2A classification. Now they put that streak on the line in the 3A classification after MPSSAA realignments. (Photo by John Roemer)
Every two years the MPSSAA puts out new classification and regional alignments based on school enrollment figures. Next fall there will be changes made to these alignments - and, for the first time, each sport is divided separately, meaning that (for example) some schools may be in 3A in cross country but in 4A in track depending on how many schools have active programs.
Today we'll take a look at the updated cross country realignments in the 3A and 4A divisions. The full lists can be downloaded from the MPSSAA website here. Click on "2019-21 Sport Specific Classifications & Region Alignments."
New 4A Schools: Parkville (3A North -> 4A North). Parkville High School is the only school that moves from 3A to 4A this year.
Regional Changes: Urbana, one of the top girls teams in the state, moves from the 4A North to 4A West region. They spice up a region already featuring Walter Johnson, Walt Whitman, Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Thomas S. Wootton.
4A North features a couple new teams in Parkville and John F. Kennedy High School. The loss of Howard and Urbana opens things up for Dulaney and Sherwood on the girls side and Northwood and Dulaney on the boys side.
Meanwhile, Howard moves over to the 4A East Region. The defending 4A North girls champions will get to battle the defending state champions from Severna Park, along with Broadneck and South River. The region also loses North Point (who moves down to 3A).
New 3A Schools: Damascus (2A West -> 3A West), Hereford (2A North -> 3A North), North Point (4A East -> 3A South), Easton (2A East -> 3A South), Hammond (2A South -> 3A East), Marriotts Ridge (2A South -> 3A East), River Hill (2A South -> 3A East), Wilde Lake (2A South -> 3A East). The traditionally dominant Hereford girls move back to the 3A classification, as do River Hill, who can always be counted on to be in the mix for a team title.
Regional Changes: Manchester Valley (and defending regional champion Rubie Goffena) and Westminster move from the 3A West to 3A East Region. Meanwhile Damascus moves back up to 3A after a couple of years in the 2A classification.
Meanwhile, 3A North looks almost the same; Parkville is swapped out for Hereford. The Hereford girls put their winning streak on the line as they seek their fifth consecutive state title (and eight out of ten this decade). The boys also look to mix it up with Towson and C. Milton Wright who competed in a closely-contested regional meet last fall.
The 3A South region will look a lot different in 2019. James M. Bennett, Stephen Decatur, Chesapeake (AA) and Northeast migrate over from the 3A East Region to take the places of Baltimore City College, Baltimore Poly, Digital Harbor and Potomac. North Point also joins as the only school to be moved down from 4A to 3A, and Easton moves up from 2A East.
While the 3A East region loses the four teams noted above, they gain an influx of Howard County squads (River Hill, Wilde Lake, Marriotts Ridge and Hammond) that will make this regional meet feel much like a repeat of the Howard County Championships. Also joining will be Manchester Valley and Westminster from neighboring Carroll County.