MAN – With the WVSSAC’s realignment coming up soon Man High School is sitting on the fence.
Man, which has been a Class A school for many years going back to the 2000s, is currently in the “border regions” as far as enrollment is concerned.
Depending on where the SSAC sets its cutoff figures for Class A and Class AA schools, the Hillbillies may have enough students to go back to Double-A.
Man’s Harvey Arms, who coaches the school’s football and boys’ basketball teams, said it’s a possibility.
“We were just talking about that at school the other day. I guess it really will depend on where they set the cutoff line,” Arms said. “We have picked up some students this year. If the count was now we would be right up there and be very close. The cutoff line will change, too. It’s not a sure thing but it’s a possibility that we could go back to Double-A.”
Man competed as a Class AA school for a large chunk of the 1990s and into the early 2000s. Declining enrollment then dropped MHS to Single-A status.
Man has had much success at the Class A level over the last decade or so.
Man High School has won three state championships since it was a Class A school.
The Man baseball team captured the 2014 Class A state baseball championship with a 12-10 victory over Clarksburg Notre Dame. It was the school’s first state championship of any kind in boys’ athletics.
The Man softball squad brought home back-to-back Class A state titles in 2008 and 2009 and nearly won a third straight championship in 2010 but fell to South Harrison in the Class A state title game at Vienna.
Back in 2009, Coach Arms’ own football team marched all the way to the Super Six in Wheeling as Man fell in the Class A state championship game to Weirton Madonna at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Man has seen improvement to its athletic facilities, chiefly its football stadium, as George A. Queen Memorial Field received a major upgrade with the installation of Field Turf this summer and in recent years, a new home grandstand and a new locker room building.
Arms said he really has no preference as far as Man’s classification status. The current 2015-16 school year would be the last in the old realignment. The new realignment would kick in for the 2016-17 school year.
“It really doesn’t make any difference,” Arms said. “You play sports and you have got to compete wherever you are. The only tough thing is that you’ve got a schedule set for one class now. But the good thing for us is that about half of our games in football are already against Double-A teams. It’s sometimes hard to flip that schedule to get the Double-A teams back on it.”
Other area and regional schools could also be on the move.
Class AAA Logan High School is also teetering on the 3A/2A border and could drop to Double-A.
Tolsia, a member of the Cardinal Conference and a 2A school, might go back to Single-A.
Class AA Herbert Hoover, another member of the Cardinal, could go back up to Triple-A as Hoover is one of the largest 2A schools in the state.
Other schools are also sitting on the fence.
If either Tolsia or Herbert Hoover change classifications, they would, presumably have to leave the Cardinal Conference, which is traditionally exclusive to just Double-A schools.
If Man goes back up to 2A would the Billies be interested in joining the league?
The conference will likely be searching for new members if either the Rebels or Huskies or both leave. In 2012, the Cardinal lost Point Pleasant when the Big Blacks went up to 3A. The league lost Logan and Winfield in 2008 after the Cats and Generals went back up.
“That’s a possibility I guess,” Arms said about joining the league. “I don’t know. But back in the early 90s when they formed the Cardinal Conference Man tried to get in but couldn’t.”
Man would make geographic sense in the Cardinal Conference, and with the four-laned Route 10 from Logan to Man hopefully set to be finished soon, there would be improved roads to get there.
In the early 90s, Man was even a Class AAA school and played in the Mountain State Athletic Conference.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1730, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).