The biggest change coming out of the latest high school playoff realignment was Braham football moving to Section 7A this coming autumn.
The Minnesota State High School League completed its 2011-2013 competitive section assignments for member schools earlier this month. With Braham showing an enrollment of 217 students, that allowed Bomber football to change from Section 7AA to the smaller schools of 7A.
Deer River is also moving from 7AA to 7A this fall. The change allows the Bombers to renew its playoff rivalry with East Central, along with taking on neighboring Ogilvie come the playoffs. The EC Eagles won the section in 2009 and were runners-up last season.
“I would just like to remind everyone that the section realignment for the 2011-2012 seasons does not change our regular-season schedule, at least for this fall. We will still play East Central, Esko (AAA), Hinckley-Finlayson (AA), Pine City (AAA), Aitkin (AA), Crosby-Ironton (AA), Moose Lake-Willow River (AA), and Rush City (AA),” said Braham Coach Shawn Kuhnke, whose Bombers were runners-up to powerful ML-WR last season in 7AA. “Conference realignment may take place for the 2012 football season, but we will not know for sure until at least May.”
Barnum is the defending champ in 7A football, also reaching State in 2006. Cook County is the most decorated program in the section after reaching State 11 times over the past 20 seasons (last time in 2007), including winning “A” championships three straight seasons from 1997-99.
Chisholm, the 2008 7A champ, moved to nine-man football for the coming season. New Ulm Cathedral is the defending State champ in “A” football.
More Braham section changes
A list of minor member changes affecting other Braham sports:
• In 5A Baseball, Browerville and Kerkhoven-M-S moved in while Legacy Christian and PACT departed.
• In 7AA Girls Basketball, Milaca moved in while Proctor departed.
• In 5A Cross Country, Mayer Lutheran moved in while Dassel-Cokato, PACT and Royalton departed.
• In 5A Softball, Hinckley-Finlayson moves in, and PACT departed.
• In 5A Track & Field, Spectrum moves in, and Dassel-Cokato departs.
• In 7AA Wrestling, Deer River and Princeton departed, bringing the membership down to 11 teams.
Changes in Cambridge-Isanti sections
Bluejacket Soccer’s Section 7AA will see a significant change with Anoka’s move to Section 8AA. The Tornado boys won the 7AA title last fall, and both Anoka squads were perennial contenders in the section the past several years. Duluth Central replaces them, keeping the section at an even eight teams for 2011-2013.
Andover brings its very tough running program to Section 7AA Cross Country next season. Big Lake also moves in to 7AA, bringing the member school number up to 15.
A list of minor member changes affecting other C-I sports:
• In 7AA Gymnastics, Chisago Lakes and Elk River depart (the Elks move to Section 8AA to compete against its sister program Rogers).
• In 7AA Boys & Girls Golf, Andover and St. Michael-Albertville move in to make it 12 teams in the section.
• In 7AA Boys Hockey, St. Michael-Albertville moves in and Princeton departs to Section 5A.
• In 7AAA Softball, Duluth Central moves in to raise the member school count to 12.
• In 7AA Boys & Girls Swimming, Duluth Central departs to drop the member school count to eight teams.
• In 7AA Girls Tennis, C-I’s conference partner Big Lake joins the fray.
• In 7AA Boys and Girls Track, Big Lake and Zimmerman join to bring the membership to 16 teams.