With shifting enrollments, several schools have changed classifications and divisions for this season, perhaps none more dramatically than Broad Run.
The Spartans went from being a Division 4 team in the Virginia AA Dulles District, where last season five of the seven members finished .500 or worse, to being a Division 5 team in the Virginia AAA Cedar Run District. The five-team Cedar Run includes defending Division 6 champion Battlefield and Osbourn, the Division 6 champion in 2006 and runner-up in 2008.
Broad Run, 49-3 the past four seasons, won Division 4 state titles in 2008 and ’09.
“I’m excited about moving to Triple-A, and I know the kids are, too,” said second-year Broad Run Coach Matt Griffis. “One, just playing different teams than we traditionally play. And we get to compete against teams that are traditionally in The Washington Post Top 20. They want to see where they’re at. They read about the Battlefields and Osbourns and Stone Bridges but have never played them. Now we see where we stack up.”
The Spartans have nondistrict games against 2007 Division 6 runner-up Woodbridge, reigning Division 4 champion Briar Woods and Stone Bridge, the Division 5 runner-up the past two seasons and state champion in 2007.
Freedom-South Riding, which went 1-25 in the Dulles, also moves to the Cedar Run.
Osbourn goes from Division 5 to Division 6. One would assume that the largest classification would be the more challenging. But the road to a Division 5 crown can be more difficult. Hampton school Phoebus has won six of the past 10 state finals.
Division 6 has no such dynasty. Ten schools have won the past 11 titles in Division 6, with Westfield (2003, ’07) the lone two-time champion in that span.
In the Northern Region, South County and Langley dropped to Division 5 from Division 6, a boon to both teams’ playoff chances. The region’s eight-team playoff field in Division 5 is generally fairly weak. Other than Loudoun County school Stone Bridge, no Northern Region team has won a Division 5 state title since West Potomac in 1990. In contrast, Northern Region Division 6 teams won nine titles during that span.
The new alignment was not as kind to Washington-Lee and South Lakes, both of which got bumped up to Division 6. South Lakes is on its third coach in three years and Washington-Lee has not posted a winning season in 17 years.
In Montgomery County, Quince Orchard moves up to 4A from 3A, as did Clarksburg. Sherwood, Paint Branch, Blake and Springbrook shift to the 4A North region from 4A West, which gives the county a chance to advance two teams to the state semifinals.