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Sections realign for next two seasons

MARSHALL – Competitive section assignments for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years were announced by the Minnesota State High School League on Friday.

Section realignment happens every two years and is based on changes in enrollment, new programs and cooperative agreements between school districts.

The MSHSL uses an adjustment enrollment number that factors in a district’s free and reduced lunch numbers.

In 2019, the league voted to add a class to the previously two-class sports volleyball, cross country and track and field. Those changes will also go into effect this fall.

Here are details of some of the notable changes

Volleyball

Despite volleyball adding a class, most of the area volleyball programs remain unaffected by the realignment. The 11 area programs that played in Section 3A last fall will stay in Section 3A.

The big change comes for the Marshall Tigers. The Tigers have owned Section 3AA since 2001, winning every section tournament they’ve played in. The only two times since 2001 the Class AA Tournament did not include Marshall were 2015 and 2016, when the Tigers were in Class AAA.

The Tigers will return to Class AAA this fall, but this time will not be placed with some of the largest programs in the state. With volleyball now a four-class sport, the rest of Section 2AAA will include Hutchinson, Mankato East, Mankato West, New Ulm, St. Peter, Willmar and Worthington.

Football

Marshall will continue to play in the four-school Section 2AAAA in football. New Ulm and Mankato East will depart the section for the next two seasons and will be replaced by Faribault and Willmar.

The Tigers last faced Faribault in the 2016 postseason and haven’t played against Willmar since 2010.

In Class A, all 15 schools that played in Sections 3 and 5 the past two seasons will stay in their respective sections. The lone addition is Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, which drops down from Section 3AA to form an eight-team Section 3A.

TMB departs the previously six-team Section 3AA, which moves up to eight teams in the section with the additions of Jackson County Central, Minnesota Valley Lutheran and Sibley East.

In nine-man football, Red Rock Central shifts over from Section 2 to Section 3, where the Falcons will replace Lyle/Pacelli. Section 2 also will lose Onamia and Ogilvie while adding Hancock and Ortonville in the new seven-school section.

Wrestling

Two Class A wrestling rivals will be changing sections as both Canby and Minneota will shift from Section 3A to Section 5A. Also departing Section 3A are Madelia/Truman/Martin Luther and Windom/Mountain Lake. Moving into Section 3A will be Luverne, which slides down from Section 3AA.

Also joining Section 5A will be Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, while the section loses Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville, Osakis and Quad County.

Quad County and W/ML-along with Hutchinson/Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart-are joining the new Section 3AA, replacing Luverne.

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