The New Palestine boys basketball team just transformed from the underdog into running with the pack.

The IHSAA announced its 2015-16, 2016-17 reclassification efforts Tuesday, and the Dragons are headed back to Class 3A for at least two years after moving up to Class 4A in 2011-12.

Weeks after competing in the state tournament as one of the smallest 4A teams, the Dragons now boast the largest enrollment (1,094) in the reconfigured Class 3A, which consists of 101 schools.

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“It’s a good feeling,” New Palestine boys basketball coach Adam Barton said of the new alignment. “I mean it’s not like we’re a Goliath in that we’re double the size of anyone we’ll play in sectional, but it’s nice knowing we’ll being playing against schools a little closer to our size.

“It has been daunting the past couple years heading into the 4A tournament, just knowing what you will have to do in order to advance to the state level. Our sectional has been with Center Grove and Franklin Central, teams that are more than twice our size. To be able to play against a closer level of competition is exciting.”

Specific sectional groupings within each class will be announced later this spring, no earlier than May 4, the IHSAA announced.

Along with Barton’s squad, the softball program also will head to Class 3A, joining the volleyball and baseball programs, leaving Brian Kehrt’s girls basketball team as the only remaining 4A bunch in the building.

In the coming years, New Palestine will be the smallest school in Class 4A girls basketball (100 schools). It enrolls just 17 more students than Class 3A Jasper and is 3,736 students smaller than Class 4A-leading Carmel.

New Palestine will remain in 4A because of other girls basketball programs bumped from Class 2A into 3A via the Tournament Success Factor, sending what would normally be the largest 3A schools into 4A in order to make room.

“I’d love to be bitter,” Kehrt said. “But it my old age, I’m a little more laid back than I used to be.

“I will say I feel bad for our kids. We’re 17 kids away from being one of the biggest 3A schools, and with the kids we have coming back, a possible powerhouse. So I’m sad for them, because they — and they won’t complain about it — but they’ll have to go up against teams up to four times their size.”

In the six-class football system, as anticipated, the defending Class 4A state champion Dragons football program officially make the leap to the 33-team Class 5A via the Tournament Success Factor. There, it will be the smallest school by more than 350 students. Cathedral is the two-time defending 5A champion but will move up to Class 6A.

New Palestine football semistate foe the past two years and 2013-14 Class 4A state champion Columbus East also will make the transition to 5A, along with Muncie Central.

The only other Hancock County program to shift classes was the Eastern Hancock football program, which has been shifted to Class 2A just two years after its Class A state finals appearance.

With an enrollment figure of 416, the Royals were 27 students above the new Class A cutoff (389) and become the 13th-smallest school in the new class.

The jump came as no surprise to Royals coach Jim O’Hara, and he said it is not all that consequential.

“We knew our enrollment, so we knew this was coming,” he said. “It’s really not that big a deal. … I tell our kids, a high school kid is a high school kid. Just because he goes to a bigger school, that does not make him a better player.”

Statewide class changes

The Indiana High School Athletic Association has announced the new classifications for IHSAA member schools in several sports for the next two school years.

The enrollment figures, the total of boys and girls in grades 9‐12, were submitted by the schools to the Indiana Department of Education last fall and are used to determine the classifications in the sports of baseball, boys and girls basketball, football, boys and girls soccer, softball and volleyball.

BASEBALL

Moving from 3A to 4A (1)

Muncie Central.

Moving from 4A to 3A (4)

Indianapolis Northwest, Jay County, Marion, South Bend Washington.

Moving from 2A to 3A (3)

Indianapolis Manual, Indianapolis Washington, Sullivan.

Moving from 3A to 2A (9)

Blackford, Eastbrook, Gary Roosevelt, Knox, Lighthouse CPA, Mitchell, Rochester, Wheeler, Whitko

Moving from A to 2A (2)

Carroll (Flora), Monroe Central

Moving from 2A to A (8)

Cambridge City Lincoln, Clinton Central, LaVille, North Central (Farmersburg), North Miami, Northfield, Riverton Parke, Sheridan.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Moving from 3A to 4A (3)

Guerin Catholic#, Kankakee Valley, Muncie Central.

Moving from 4A to 3A (4)

Indianapolis Northwest, Marion, New Palestine, South Bend Washington.

Moving from 2A to 3A (7)

Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter, Indianapolis Crispus Attucks, Indianapolis Manual, Indianapolis Washington, Park Tudor#, Rensselaer Central, Sullivan.

Moving from 3A to 2A (7)

Bowman Academy, Eastbrook, Gary Roosevelt, Knox, Mitchell, Rochester, Whitko,

Moving from A to 2A (6)

Barr‐Reeve#, Covington, Carroll (Flora), Marquette Catholic#, Monroe Central, Rossville,  

Moving from 2A to A (4)

Clinton Central, North Central (Farmersburg), North Miami, Riverton Parke,  

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Moving from 3A to 4A (2)

Kankakee Valley, Muncie Central.

Moving from 4A to 3A (3)

Indianapolis Northwest, Marion, South Bend Washington.

Moving from 2A to 3A (8)

Fort Wayne Canterbury#, Heritage Christian#, Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter, Indianapolis Crispus Attucks, Indianapolis Manual, Indianapolis Washington, Rensselaer Central, Sullivan.

Moving from 3A to 2A (7)

Blackford, Eastbrook, Gary Roosevelt, Knox, Mitchell, Rochester, Whitko,  

Moving from A to 2A (6)

Carroll (Flora), Covington, Lafayette Central Catholic, Monroe Central, Oregon‐Davis, Rossville.

Moving from 2A to A (4)

Clinton Central, North Central (Farmersburg), North Miami, Riverton Parke.

FOOTBALL

Moving from 6A to 5A (3)

Castle, Indianapolis Tech, Lafayette Jefferson.

Moving from 5A to 6A (2)

Indianapolis Cathedral#, LaPorte.

Moving from 4A to 5A (4)

Columbus East#, Mishawaka##, Muncie Central, New Palestine#.

Moving from 5A to 4A (4)

Fort Wayne Wayne, Jennings County, Munster, Richmond.

Moving from 3A to 4A (5)

Andrean#, Delta, Edgewood, Evansville Bosse, Silver Creek.

Moving from 4A to 3A (4)

Danville, Griffith, Indianapolis Northwest, Norwell

Moving from 2A to 3A (7)

Benton Central, Indianapolis Manual, Indianapolis Washington, Rensselaer Central#, Southridge, Sullivan, Tipton.

Moving from 3A to 2A (7)

Blackford, Eastbrook, Gary Roosevelt, Knox, Mitchell, Rochester, Whitko.

Moving from A to 2A (7)

Eastern Hancock, Indianapolis Howe, Indianapolis Scecina, Northeastern, South Adams, Whiting, Winamac.

Moving from 2A to A (6)

Eastern Greene, Knightstown, North Judson‐San Pierre, North Knox, Shenandoah, Tell City.

BOYS SOCCER

Moving from A to 2A (7)

Fort Wayne Canterbury##, Fort Wayne Concordia, Greensburg, Guerin Catholic#, Herron, Indianapolis Washington, West Noble.

Moving from 2A to A (3)

Bellmont, Indianapolis Howe, Indianapolis Manual.

GIRLS SOCCER

Moving from A to 2A (7)

Fort Wayne Concordia, Greensburg, Guerin Catholic, Herron, Indianapolis Washington, West Lafayette#, West Noble.

Moving from 2A to A (5)

Bellmont, Indianapolis Howe, Indianapolis Manual, Mishawaka Marian, Providence.

SOFTBALL

Moving from 3A to 4A (1)

Muncie Central.

Moving from 4A to 3A (5)

Indianapolis Northwest, Jay County, Marion, New Palestine, South Bend Washington.

Moving from 2A to 3A (3)

Indianapolis Manual, Indianapolis Washington, Sullivan.

Moving from 3A to 2A (7)

Blackford, Eastbrook, Knox, Mitchell, Rochester, Wheeler, Whitko.

Moving from A to 2A (2)

Carroll (Flora), Monroe Central.

Moving from 2A to A (4)

Cambridge City Lincoln, Clinton Central, North Central (Farmersburg), Riverton Parke.

VOLLEYBALL

Moving from 3A to 4A (4)

Brebeuf Jesuit#, Fort Wayne Concordia#, Muncie Central, Shelbyville.

Moving from 4A to 3A (3)

Indianapolis Northwest, Marion, South Bend Washington.

Moving from 2A to 3A (5)

Indianapolis Manual, Indianapolis Washington, Providence#, Rensselaer Central, Sullivan.

Moving from 3A to 2A (6)

Eastbrook, Gary Roosevelt, Knox, Mitchell, Rochester, Whitko.

Moving from A to 2A (4)

Barr‐Reeve#, Carroll (Flora), Monroe Central, Wes‐Del#.

Moving from 2A to A (4)

Clinton Central, North Central (Farmersburg), North Daviess, Riverton Parke.

# Denotes change due to Tournament Success Factor

## Denotes school opted to play in higher class