Volleyball realignment complete
The Minnesota State High School League just finished their realignment process and the local volleyball landscape has changed dramatically. Most notably, Carlton and Esko will no longer play in Section 5AA as they have for the past two years. Ins...
The Minnesota State High School League just finished their realignment process and the local volleyball landscape has changed dramatically.
Most notably, Carlton and Esko will no longer play in Section 5AA as they have for the past two years. Instead Carlton has moved over to Section 7A after being dropped down from AA to Class A. Esko stays in Class AA, but they switch sections.
Section 7A will now have 25 teams including local schools such as Floodwood, Cloquet Christian Academy, AlBrook, Carlton, Fond du Lac Ojibwe and Wrenshall. One of the top teams in Class A in northern Minnesota, Cook will also be in the section.
Cloquet and Hibbing both drop down from Section 7AAA and will play in Section 7AA along with Esko and Hermantown. Hibbing, a perennial favorite in Section 7AAA, now becomes the odds on favorite in Class AA in Section 7. The section now has 16 teams with Cloquet, Crosby-Ironton, Hibbing, Esko, Aitkin, Hermantown, Proctor, Moose Lake-Willow River, Two Harbors and International Falls among the notable teams now playing in Class AA.
Barnum and Cromwell will move out of Section 4A and into Section 5A where they will join a 25-team section that includes McGregor, Eden Valley-Watkins, Braham, Bertha-Hewitt and Verndale, among others.
It appears the school the realignment helped the most could be Carlton, which switches back to the small school tournament, away from Class AA, and out of what should be an extremely powerful Section 7AA.
Now the question is, what schools remain in Section 7AAA? It becomes a 12-team section (with the loss of Cloquet and Hibbing) with all the Duluth schools, with the exception of Marshall, Grand Rapids, Forest Lake, Princeton, St. Francis, Cambridge, Chisago Lakes, Andover and Anoka.
Every two years the Minnesota State High School League realigns the class and sections teams play in based on school enrollment.
A number of area teams have been on the bubble for a long time. For years Cloquet was the smallest school in Minnesota playing in Class AAA, Hermantown was among the largest schools playing in Class AA and Carlton just barely got pushed up into Class AA two years ago and became the smallest school in that class in the state. However, with the recent moves it appears Carlton will have a very legitimate shot at advancing to the state tournament next season based on players returning, strength of program, coaching and the other teams in the section.
Pine Journal sports reporter Kerry Rodd can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org .