Section Shakeup 2015

March 7, 2015

Every two years the Minnesota high school league reevaluates the section assignments for all sports.  Two years ago, there were no changes to the alignment for Nordic skiing, but four years ago a number of moves were made.  Now in 2015, one of the biggest realignments has hit the books!  

The new section alignment for the 2015-16 season is driven almost entirely based on geography.  The league has stressed that competition within sections was not factored whatsoever.

So here's our analysis on the changes ...

Section 1

Out: Park (Cottage Grove), Simley 
In: Burnsville

Rolling Burnsville into this section brings it closer inline with their normal conference meets.   Burnsville will make it a little harder for the section teams to earn a State Meet birth, but otherwise a fairly neutral move.

Section 2

Out: Elk River, Maple Grove, Mound Westonka, Orono, Rogers, Wayzata, Willmar, Zimmerman, Heritage/Providence 
In: Bloomington Kennedy, Bloomington Jefferson, Edina, Mpls Southwest, Mpls Washburn, Richfield, Shakopee

Wow -- huge changes!  Only five of the previous schools remain.   For Eden Prairie, life gets a little easier with the departure of perennial powerhouse Wayzata.  Edina comes in and, along with Southwest, will generate some good competition for the teams.  Richfield and Bloomington Kennedy are probably in for the biggest shock, coming from a previously less competitive section.

Section 3

Out: Bloomington Kennedy, Burnsville, Mpls Washburn, Richfield, Shakopee, St. Paul Como Park 
In: East Ridge, Math & Science Academy, Park (Cottage Grove), Simley, Woodbury

While there were a lot of changes in this section, the level of competition remains fairly weak. Minnehaha Academy, St. Paul Central and Mpls South shouldn't be impacted too much by these moves as they look to continue their reign. It does however bring most of the east/southeast metro schools together.  

Section 4

Out: East Ridge, Math & Science, Woodbury 
In: Irondale, Mounds View, Roseville, St. Paul Como Park

Already a tough section, it now appears to be the section of death.  Forest Lake and Stillwater have long battled for the titles, and now Roseville and Irondale enter the fray.  Given the history of these teams, there is a chance this section will have three top ten teams ... and only two can advance.  Congrats to East Ridge, Woodbury and Math & Science for getting out!

Section 5

Out: Irondale, Mpls Edison, Mpls Patrick-Henry, Mounds View, Roseville 
In: Elk River, Maple Grove, Mora, Rogers, Zimmerman

Two of the best teams exit, in Roseville and Irondale, making this a more open section.  In any given year, Andover, Elk River, Mora, Anoka, and heck, just about everyone in this section could win.  Like many of the other sections, it does bring the geographically close schools into the same section.   And many of these teams compete in the same conference.

Section 6

Out: Bloomington Jefferson, Edina, Mpls Southwest 
In: Mpls Edison, Mpls Patrick-Henry, Mound Westonka, Orono, Wayzata, Heritage/Providence

An interesting trade off here: Edina and Mpls Southwest for Wayzata?   Wayzata avoids the annual competition with Eden Prairie for the section title, but now has Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Armstrong to contend with.   Condolences to Minneapolis Edison and Patrick-Henry for having to enter this tough line up.

Section 7

Out: none 
In: none

Nothing interesting here... move along.

Section 8

Out: Mora 
In: Willmar

Minor changes -- Mora joins the north metro oriented section 5, while Willmar links up with their central Minnesota brethren.    Might make the competition a little easier, but not by much.

You can review the entire 2015-17 Competitive Section assignments (or check an interactive map) and read the press release on the new section assignments.