The changes made by the Arizona Interscholastic Association in its state tournament reconfiguration plan started last year for individual sports like cross country, swimming and wrestling.
The team-based sports get an overhaul this school year.
The changes to football have been well-chronicled (July 29 issue of AFN) but all of the other sports have new formats as well.
Here is a quick rundown of what to expect from all of the fall sports.
Old: Two classifications (5A and 4A)
New: One division (Division I)
Notes: Badminton started to get an overhaul last year when the individual state tournaments were slimmed down to one division for singles and doubles. Now, the team state tournament gets the same treatment.
Old: As an individual sport, you have to go back to the 2009-10 school year for the previous format when there were six classifications and every school qualified in Class 5A Division I.
Semi-new: Each of the four divisions has three sectionals with the top 50 percent (roughly 8 of 16) of teams and top five individuals not on one of the qualifying teams making the state tournament.
Notes: Coaches seemed to like the stiffer competition last season and, let’s face it, having every single school qualify in the largest classification was just idiotic and made for a clogged up course for runners who weren’t state level competitors.
Old: Also started last season when six classifications for boys (four fall, two spring) and four for girls (fall) were reduced.
Semi-new: The fall had two boys and girls state meets (Division I and II) and spring had one boys (Division III).
Notes: It was a case where the contenders couldn’t make a mistake because the competition was too tough.
Swimming and Diving
Old: Changes were made last year and were the most drastic as 70 meets (including qualifying and state for boys and girls) were cut down to four.
Semi-new: Five classifications were cut to two per gender, creating new rivalries and elevated competition.
Notes: The state meets a year ago might have been the most competitive Arizona has seen in a long time. When there were five meets, everyone was seemingly earning a medal with sub-par times.
Old: Last year there were seven different classifications with region champions qualifying and the rest of the field filled in by power points.
New: There are only five divisions with the top three in each of the three sections qualifying for the 16-team field. Power points will fill the other seven spots.
Notes: A lot of teams that were top Class 5A Division II programs will now join the top programs from the old Class 5A-I to form one heck of a Division I.