It was no big shock that Stephenville High School will remain in Division I of Class 4A after the University Interscholastic League announced the cutoff parameters for the Texas public schools reclassification for the next two school years.
There are, of course, other important questions yet to be revealed.
Those factors include not only which district the SISD athletics teams will be in, but also which region.
“It will really just be (a question of) what region we will end up in — if we go back to Region I or stay in Region II,” SISD Athletic Director Jerod Womack said.
The biennial UIL district realignment results will be announced on Monday, Feb. 3.
“At this point, it’s just a waiting game to see where they put us,” Womack said.
Stephenville’s geographical location, near the Metroplex, is such that the school could remain in Region I — or the realignment gurus at the UIL office in Austin could move into Region II where it used to be.
Womack noted that there will be four additional Fort Worth schools that will be moving into Class 4A this time around.
Stephenville High School currently competes in Region II in football (District 5-4A Division I, which has four districts in each of the four regions), and in Region I (District 7-4A, which has eight districts per region) in other sports.
The four other schools currently in Stephenville’s District 5-4A football league are Brownwood, Waco La Vega, China Spring and Gatesville. Prior to the UIL realignment in 2018, Stephenville was in District 3-4A with Abilene Wylie, Brownwood, Big Spring and Snyder.
The schools in District 7-4A for sports other than football, in addition to Stephenville, are Glen Rose, Brownwood, Godley and Mineral Wells. Before that, it was District 8-4A, with Alvarado, Glen Rose, Godley, Midlothian Heritage, Venus and Waxahachie Life School.
The UIL website shows that there are 205 schools in Class 4A — 186 of which play football and 200 of which play volleyball.
The Division I and Division II schools within each of the six classifications (Class A through 6A) are decided based on the school population count from a specified date.
The student count for Stephenville on that date — Oct. 24 of this year — was 1,061. That’s down slightly from the 1,079 last year. The cutoff between 4A Division I and 5A Division II is now 1,229.
There is still plenty of cushion, both above and below, ensuring that SHS sports teams will remain in 4A Division I at least for the current classification period.
Andrews will be the largest 4A Division I school, barely avoiding moving up to Class 5A, with 1,209 students, while the bottom end of 4A Division II is set at 880. Class 4A Division II now ranges from 515 students up to 879.
“That was a lot higher than I thought it would be,” Womack said. “I didn’t think they would bump it (by) 50, but they did. That shows growth in the metropolitan areas; they have to keep increasing that number.”
While many towns and schools in West Texas have been shrinking in population in recent years, Womack noted that Andrews is one of the exceptions to that because of the resurgence of the oil drilling industry in that part of the state.