When the Arkansas Activities Association set classifications and conferences for the current two-year playing cycle, Booneville was the ninth smallest Class 4A school.
Last week the AAA released numbers for the next two year cycle that starts in 2014 and Booneville will be the largest public 3A school.
As such the school will say goodbye, for now anyway, to conference foes Dardanelle, Waldron, Mena, Dover, Pottsville, Subiaco and Maumelle. The latter, of course, was only a conference member for two years and the Hornets will be moving the other direction, to Class 5A.
Head football coach/assistant athletic director Scott Hyatt said last week he is looking forward to the change.
“This gives us a chance to compete against people like us, people who have so many going both ways,” Hyatt said of the change in football.”
But, Hyatt thinks the change will be beneficial across the board.
“It will be good for all our programs — volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball (and) track,” said Hyatt.
Volleyball coaches Dean and Janice West were in Waldron last week on the day the numbers were released to the public.
Dean said the move down will be good in the respect that his squads will not face 4A powers Waldron and Mena — teams Booneville have yet to beat in a match since resuming the sport — but it’s not as if Mansfield, Paris and others are pushovers.
West added the big change will be bus rides. No trips to Ashdown and or Arkadelphia for conference games.
Boys basketball coach Tim Goers said the change will be okay but he said he is also leery of bouncing up and down in future cycles which he doesn’t think would be good for the school.
Hyatt, likewise, noted the change could be temporary.
“It could be two years and done or four years and done,” said Hyatt.
Booneville made the drop to 3A with a drop in enrollment in grades 9-11 over a three year period. The average attendance during that period was 298. When the 2012-2014 cycle was set, the school’s average was 318.67.
Hyatt also noted the range from the largest to smallest 3A public schools is 110 students — Booneville’s 298 to Danville’s 188.
During the current cycle the 4A range was 480.67 to 296, or 184. The 4A range for the 2014-2016 cycle is Monticello’s 485.67 to Gentry’s 303.67, a difference of 182.
Conference assignments, and arguments there about, are forthcoming from the AAA but area 3A schools Atkins, Cedarville, Charleston, Danville, Lamar, Lavaca, Mansfield and Paris are currently grouped together for football.
For basketball, however, Atkins, Charleston, Danville, Lamar, Paris, Perryville and Two Rivers are in a league while Lavaca, Mansfield and Cedarville are grouped with Elkins, Greenland and West Fork.
The baseball and softball conferences more closely mirror the football conferences but also sport a difference in that the leagues play a double round robin in the regular season and do not play a year end conference tournament to determine regional seeding.
Also of note from the realignment, current 5A school Clarksville, who has been competing in Booneville’s 4A conference, will remain in 5A. Also moving to 5A is Farmington. Remaining in Class 6A are Greenwood and Siloam Springs and they will be joined by Alma.
Moving into 4A are Riverview, Fountain Lake and Cave City.