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Feb. 3, 2016 — A sea change in a large competition

Last week, there was a major change in the state with the most high-school girls’ lacrosse teams in the country.

The New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association voted to expand both boys’ and girls’ lacrosse into a four-division state championship beginning next year.

New York has 330 schools under the NYSPHSAA umbrella for girls’ lacrosse, and a further 45 playing in the Public School Athletic League or in the independent leagues. It’s not much bigger than the numbers of three years ago, which showed 319 NYSPHSAA schools.

The four classifications have not yet been drawn up: that may be released as early as this Friday after the state’s lacrosse committees meet. But if you want a guideline, one could begin with the one sport listed on the NYSPHSAA website that has a four-tiered championship system: cross country.

In cross country, Class D (for the smallest schools) features schools with fewer than 260 students. Class C has between 261 and 444, Class B between 445 and 849, and Class A with more than 850 schools.

What would that do for girls’ lacrosse? As was the case for Pennsylvania’s reclassification of field hockey, I think it will benefit smaller schools, particularly in the central part of the state, and perhaps allow some mid-table programs to gain confidence knowing that an old rival might be in another bracket.

The problem is that there is a paucity of high schools with fewer than 261 students in New York that have girls’ lacrosse as a varsity sport.

Let’s take a look at some of the schools who would be in the brackets:

Class A: Shrub Oak Lakeland/Cortlandt Manor Walter Panas (N.Y.), Shenendehowa (N.Y.), Liverpool (N.Y.), Farmingdale (N.Y.), Guilderland (N.Y.), Suffern (N.Y.), Mamaroneck (N.Y.), Camillus West Genesee (N.Y.), Niskayuna (N.Y.), Hauppage (N.Y.), Centereach/Selden Newfield (N.Y.)

Class B: Canandaigua (N.Y.) Academy, Rye (N.Y.), Islip (N.Y.), Mount Sinai (N.Y.), Garden City (N.Y.), Manhasset (N.Y.), Wantagh (N.Y.), Sayville (N.Y.), Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.), Shoreham-Wading River (N.Y.), Adams South Jefferson (N.Y.)

Class C: Bronxville (N.Y.), Skaneateles (N.Y.) Senior, Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.), Penn Yan (N.Y.) Academy, Dexter General Brown (N.Y.), Marcellus (N.Y.), Carle Place (N.Y.), Oyster Bay (N.Y.), Cazenovia (N.Y.)

Class D: Heuvelton (N.Y.) Central, LaFayette (N.Y.), Greenwich (N.Y.), Albany Academy of the Holy Names (N.Y.)

Owing to the imbalance in the numbers, I’d look for Friday’s meeting to make a significant adjustment to the classification numbers.

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