EAST LANSING — Things will be changing for Lakeview sports next season.
Lakeview will be dropping to Class C for basketball and volleyball next season after reclassifications were announced by the Michigan High School Athletic Association March 20.
The Wildcats were in Class B for the 2012-13 school year.
Classifications are based on the “fourth Friday” count taken in February. The MHSAA then tries to put an equal number of schools in each of the four classes.
The change in class will not affect the other sports, which are divided into divisions.
“We expected it,” Lakeview athletic director Tom Wilcox said. “Enrollment has been declining in the past few years. We were close to the line last year.”
The count this February was 409 students eligible to play in MHSAA sports. That is below the cutoff line of 428 for inclusion into Class B.
“My thoughts are in most sports we’re split into divisions,” Wilcox noted. “It could help us in volleyball and basketball. We had two good seasons in basketball last year.”
Lakeview boys basketball coach Mike Schreiber likes the move.
“With our enrollment and where we are now, we’re a Class C school in many respects,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of quality Class C programs. But it’s a much fairer pool.”
Schreiber noted the good schools are not all big schools.
“There’s a lot of city schools that fall in the Class C bracket that are very strong,” he said. “We played Fulton, a Class D school, that’s a very quality program. Their coach has done a wonderful job. It will help in overall tournament play in making us think the next step is doable.”
Girls basketball coach Dave King also likes the move to Class C.
“I feel like it puts us on a more level playing field,” he said. “We’ll be playing schools more our size.”
Being a big Class C school won’t translate to an advantage come tournament time, King said.
“It just depends on the league you play in and the district that you play in,” he said. “I’ve seen Class C teams that are better than Class B schools.”
King isn’t worried about traveling longer distances for tournaments.
“We’re used too traveling, so no,” he said. “When it comes time to tournaments you take the draw you get and go play. We don’t worry about that.”
It’s still possible that Lakeview could go back to Class B in a couple of years, Wilcox noted.
“We’re less than 20 kids away from the line,” he said. “If we gained 20 students next year we could be Class B. It depends on the February count in 2014. That will determine our class size for the 2014-15 school year.”
Lakeview joins Southfield Bradfrord, Farwell, Detroit Henry Ford Academy, Houghton Lake and Kalkaska in dropping from Class B to Class.