jb

It was a sad day when the reclassification numbers and conferences were released.

I have had a fond place in the heart for the 3A-1East basketball conference. It was the league in which my girls played.

Beginning in 2020, it will be no more.

The ole girl was cozy. There was Valley Springs, Bergman, Yellville, Marshall, Flippin, occasionally Cotter and Green Forest. Then Mountain View was placed in the league as well as Cave City and Melbourne when the Bearkatz’ student numbers were up.

There were epic battles in that league. Now Bergman, Green Forest and Valley Springs will be moving into a new league with the western Arkansas teams. Green Forest has been members of the same conference with these teams before, but it is new for the Boone County teams.

Until this season our 1A teams had a pretty easy road to the state tournament.

This season it was a struggle to make it to the big dance much less the regional. However, the next cycle should be much easier, and our area will find more teams in the state tournament because of the path.

All the local schools are teamed together in one conference. That will give us eight chances to make the state tournament.

The new 1A-1East will be pitted against the 1A-1West teams in regional competition. There are three public schools in a nine-team conference that is filled with charter and private schools.

Winners of the regionals go to state. That should be a big advantage for our conference.

We saw the difference that moving down to Class 4A made for Goblin Nation. It was a bountiful year for the Lady Goblins.

They won the state golf meet this year with basically a new team. The squad had two girls last season and one of those graduated. Harrison finished second in tennis and then won the cross country meet. After a semifinal berth in basketball, the Lady Goblin soccer team won the state soccer title. Volleyball made the state tournament.

Now, things are still the same for all the sports but football.

The Goblins will be playing in Class 5A again. Last season, the team finished in the semifinals. It was a good finish for the squad.

There are a lot of skilled players back this season, so the season should be fun. As the new conference was announced, the Goblins lose a non-conference opponent in Pea Ridge.

Pea Ridge has jumped over Huntsville in student population and the Blackhawks are now members of the 5A-West. Even though Pea Ridge has been successful, they were spanked like a dog by the Goblins last season.

Huntsville is out of the football conference. It is a league where they should never be. The 5A-West is for big boys.

Alpena gained eight students in this cycle count. Those eight students pushed the Leopards to Class 2A.

Their average daily attendance was 120.67. Marked Tree is the largest 1A school checking in with 117.33 students.

The Leopard Nation will join with the likes of Cotter, Flippin, Yellville-Summit and Eureka Springs.

Marshall basketball is another school that may gain from reclassification, while the football team remains in 3A, the other sports move to Class 2A. Marshall’s travel in 2A will be all over central Arkansas. After a quick trip to Hector (it is not a quick trip. The mileage is low to Hector, but the travel is curvy.

Marshall will travel as far south as North Little Rock for Lisa Academy, if they field any sports.

We have one more year of the current system. Half of the area schools are happy about that, the other half is not.

Ahh, the Arkansas Activities Association always makes it fun.

Jeff Brasel is the sports editor of the Harrison Daily Times. E-mail him at jeffb@harrisondaily.com or follow him at twitter.com/jeffbrasel .

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