Rob Hunt: IHSAA realignment shock to the system

May 2—It has been quite a week for the state's high school sports governing body.

First, it hit us Sunday with the way-too-early sectional draws for baseball and softball. Teams know their postseason path a full three weeks prior to the start of the tournament May 21.

Then it did the opposite of going too early by waiting until 45 other states had done so to recognize girls wrestling as an official sport beginning in 2025. Area teams have been growing, and I expect them to continue to do so exponentially in the future after five girls — four freshmen and a sophomore — made it to the girls state finals this year.

They also recognized boys volleyball, and we'll see if that catches on in the area.

The confetti from the celebration that followed had barely made it to the ground when the IHSAA released the long-awaited sectional realignments for the fall and winter. The anticipation for a great many changes had been building since enrollment figures and an adjusted classification process were announced earlier in the school year.

Those desiring change were not disappointed.

None of the area soccer, volleyball, football or basketball teams were unaffected, either by moving to another sectional, seeing a number of new opponents in their old sectional or — in a couple cases — changing classes altogether.

Not everyone is happy. Those who don't like class sports have another reason to complain, and people like me who took several years to memorize the teams and their corresponding sectional numbers will need to be reprogrammed.

Things will look different for everyone, but here are the three biggest winners and losers from my initial glance at the changes:


Even in its infancy, the Lapel girls soccer program is already a proven winner, posting a 23-10-2 mark in two seasons. In Sectional 43, it joined traditional powers in Heritage Christian and Park Tudor, winners of the last three state championships. It now moves to Sectional 39, away from the Eagles and Panthers and into a group that includes Eastern, Elwood, Taylor, Tipton and Tri-Central.

Lapel would also appear to be the major beneficiary of a major shakeup in the Class 2A volleyball brackets. It won't necessarily be a cakewalk, but a field that includes Elwood, Frankton — returning from 3A — Taylor and Tipton appears less daunting than having to deal with perennial state contenders Muncie Burris and Wapahani.

After 35 wins the last two seasons, the Alexandria girls basketball team has been denied postseason success by Lapel. The IHSAA split the two Madison County heavyweights, sending Lapel to Sectional 39 and leaving Alexandria as a heavy favorite in Sectional 40 with Blackford, Eastbrook, Madison-Grant, Muncie Burris and Wapahani.

Fans of the rivalry will have to wait until a potential regional showdown between the Tigers and Bulldogs.


"Losers" is probably the wrong word, and if there is one truth sports constantly teaches us it's nothing is impossible. But the road to continuing an upward trajectory just got a little tougher for a few programs, starting with Frankton's football team.

Coach Mark Luzadder has the Eagles showing improvement overall as a program, including an overtime win to snap a long losing streak to arch-rival Lapel last season. But Frankton moves up to 3A, meaning it'll compete with some larger schools. This is nothing new for the Eagles, who play against larger programs in the Central Indiana Conference but will now face a full field of 3A teams in Sectional 27 against Benton Central, Maconaquah, Northwestern, Peru, Twin Lakes, West Lafayette and Western.

The news from Tuesday was not all good for Lapel. Its fledgling boys soccer program won just three games last year in 1A but broke through with a sectional victory. That becomes tougher next season as it also moves up to 2A and faces the likes of Guerin Catholic, Hamilton Heights, Heritage Christian, Park Tudor, Tri-West Hendricks and Western Boone. Park Tudor has won 10 sectional titles, including the last three in a row.

The same realignment that benefitted the Lapel volleyball team was something of a punch to the gut for Madison-Grant. Its reward for winning four straight sectional championships was to be moved to Lapel's old spot in Sectional 40, where it will have to deal with Alexandria, Blackford, Eastbrook, Burris and Wapahani in order to make a fifth straight regional.

----With that business out of the way, I also have some congratulations and best wishes to share with a few area kids.

First, congratulations to Frankton's Max Barr, who was awarded a Marion Crawley Scholarship by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. The grant is $500, and the criteria for the Crawley Scholarship includes achievement in basketball and academics, participation in extracurricular activities and service to one's school and community. Crawley was a four-time boys basketball state championship coach.

Finally, I'm hoping for a speedy and complete recovery for Alexandria's Avery Cuneo and Daleville's Valyn Pattengale, who both suffered season-ending injuries. Cuneo is the No. 2 singles player for the six-time Madison County champions and will be missed as the Tigers seek a sixth straight sectional title later this month. Pattengale, meanwhile, is a Bowling Green commit and key component for Bronco hopes for a first softball sectional crown since 2019, but she suffered a broken fibula during Wednesday's win over Delta.

I'm already penciling both in as girls comeback finalists for the 2025 THB Sports Awards.

Contact Rob Hunt at or 765-640-4886.