By George Thompson, Reporter and Farmer 
The state High School Activities Association recently released its proposed region alignments and classifications for all sports. For local sports fans, it may mean some changes over past years.
In 9AA football, Webster would join with Arlington, Clark-Willow Lake, De Smet, Deubrook Area, Deuel and Florence-Henry in Region I with the top four teams, as determined by power points, advancing to the playoffs.*
In 9B football, Waubay-Summit will join Eureka-Bowdle, Faulkton, Hitchcock-Tulare, Langford Area, Waverly-South Shore and Wilmot in a four team Region I playoff format.
In Class A volleyball, boys/girls basketball and track and field, Webster Area will be grouped with Aberdeen Roncalli, Britton-Hecla, Groton Area, Milbank, Sisseton and Tiospa Zina. These teams will play a seven-team regional tournament versus a district tournament in volleyball and basketball and hold a single regional meet in track.
In Class B boys/girls basketball and volleyball, Waubay will be grouped with Aberdeen Christian, Langford Area, Northwestern, Leola-Frederick and Warner in District II of Region I. The winner of District 2 will play the winner of District 1 (Grant-Deuel, Great Plains Lutheran, Rosholt, Summit,Waverly-South Shore and Wilmot) for the regional championship and a berth in the state tournament. The same 12 schools will compete in a Region I track meet.
In Region 1B wrestling, Webster will align with Aberdeen Roncalli, Britton-Hecla-Langford, Clark-Willow Lake, Deuel, Faulkton Area, Groton Area, Ipswich-Leola, Kingsbury County, Redfield-Doland, Sioux Valley, Tiospa Zina and Warner-Northwestern.
In Region 1B golf, Webster will be aligned with Aberdeen Christian, Britton-Hecla, Castlewood, Clark-Willow Lake, Deuel, Florence-Henry, Frederick, Great Plains Lutheran, Hamlin, Hitchcock-Tulare, Ipswich, Langford Area, Leola and Tiospa Zina.
In Region 1A cross country, Webster will be grouped with Aberdeen Roncalli, Britton-Hecla, Clark-Willow Lake, Deuel, Groton Area, Hamlin, Milbank, Redfield-Doland, Sisseton and Tiospa Zina.
In Region 1B cross country, Waubay which recently co-oped with Summit, will be aligned with Aberdeen Christian, De Smet, Estelline, Florence-Henry, Frederick, Great Plains Lutheran, Hitchcock-Tulare, James Valley Christian, Langford Area, Northwestern, Rosholt, Warner, Waverly-South Shore, Warner and Wilmot.
Webster and Waubay athletic directors Bill Sawinsky and Doug Riter said the alignments come as no real surprise. Both pointed out that their respective schools are still in the same regions and retain many of their traditional rivals.
“We saw it coming,” Riter said. “You have to go where the geography tells you.”
Riter said he hasn’t heard any fallout from coaches or board members at this point.
Sawinsky felt the SDHSAA tried not to make any sweeping changes. He noted the big difference will come in the post-season basketball and volleyball play where there will be no more district play.
Another change that is likely to happen is that local schools may have fewer opportunities to host tournaments, especially if there is a seven-team regional rotation versus the previous four-team site rotation for districts.
Schools could appeal classifications until Feb. 13. The SDHSAA board of directors will consider any appeals at a Feb. 27 meeting and make any changes or amendments in a final vote.
*It should be noted, Britton-Hecla may join the football region in two years. And, as in previous playoff formats, the fourth-seeded team can be knocked out by another team who didn’ t make the playoffs in their own region, but has more power points than the fourth-seeded team does.