The Ohio High School Athletic Association has released enrollment figures for the 2002-03 school year and the divisional breakdowns for fall sports on its website.
The enrollment figures are based on grades 9-11 this school year, as provided by the Ohio Department of Education.
Based on those numbers, there are a few divisional changes for the Valley schools, but a few surprising ones.
As expected, only three schools -- Warren Harding, Austintown Fitch and Boardman -- are in Division I. But, it is interesting to note that Warren Harding, despite having the largest boys enrollment (722) of any area school, is more than 500 boys smaller than the largest high school in the state, Mentor (1,262).
Austintown Fitch has 657 boys and Boardman, with 608, is the 77th largest school in the state, but its enrollment is less than half that of Mentor's.
"Super division": There has been some movement around the state in recent years to create a "super" Division I, for those schools whose enrollments are the largest and others who wish to compete in that largest of divisions.
It would be similar to the setup in Pennsylvania, where schools can opt to move up in classification from where they would be based on enrollment.
For next school year, six schools would have more than 1,000 boys and eight more would have between 900 and 999.
Six Valley schools are expected to fall into Div. II, including Howland (418 boys), Canfield (391) and Niles (367) of the Metro Athletic Conference. East Liverpool (400), Woodrow Wilson (382) and Chaney (369) would also be in Div. II.
Two of the area's largest Div. III schools would also hail from the MAC: Poland (347) and Salem (316). Struthers (261) would also be Div. III, but would be just three boys over the cutoff for Div. IV.
Rayen School (329), West Branch (310), Hubbard (308), Beaver Local (301), Southeast (281) and Lakeview (279) will also be classified Div. III.
This is a division that has produced the most playoff teams in recent years, especially since the latest expansion of the postseason, for the 2000 season. It's also a division that splits our local teams; the northern-most schools traditionally have gone to Region 9 and the southern schools to Region 11.
Div. IV: In Div. IV, nine area schools are listed, including Cardinal Mooney (242) and Ursuline (230) of the Steel Valley Conference; and Liberty (243), Girard (231), Champion (209) and Brookfield (208) of the Trumbull Athletic Conference. There's also the Tri-County League's East Palestine (204) and United (187), and independent Campbell Memorial (200).
United, along with five other schools of the same enrollment, will be the smallest Div. IV school in the state.
Newton Falls will be one of the two-largest Div. V schools in Ohio, along with Cincinnati Madeira. Those two schools have 186 boys. Warren Kennedy (170), LaBrae (168), Columbiana (154), Springfield (152), Lisbon (150), Crestview (149), South Range (144), Mineral Ridge (143) and Western Reserve (140) are also in Div. V.
The small-schools division, VI, will have Mathews (128), Wellsville (123), Jackson-Milton (119), Southern (117), Leetonia (115), McDonald (107), Sebring (97), Southington (88) and Lowellville (88).
Noting that the area's smallest high school -- Lowellville -- has an enrollment nearly twice as small as its largest Inter-County League rival -- Springfield -- should lead us to speculate that further conference movement should be considered in the not too distant future.
XRob Todor is sports editor of The Vindicator. Write to him at email@example.com.