Totino-Grace football, winners of six Class 4A state championships in the past eight seasons, will opt-up next season to Class 5A.
Eagles coach Jeff Ferguson said he spoke with school administration, his coaching staff and players before making the decision. The school, located in Fridley, has a current enrollment of less than 800 students. But Ferguson is confident his team will fare well in the playoffs with schools two- or three-times the size.
“We’re up to the challenge,” Ferguson said. “You don’t know until you try. There’s never a perfect time to make this kind of move.”
The timing is more favorable in the wake of a Minnesota State High School League policy change on the time commitment for teams that opt-up. It used to be a four-year commitment. Beginning with the 2011-12 school year, it’s a two-year commitment.
In addition, major changes could be in store for high school football’s scheduling and playoff systems. A seventh class could be added that would move larger schools into their own class.
Ferguson said the success of the move will be weighed by more than wins and losses.
“If we live according to our mission that we believe in building young men, then it shouldn’t matter who we play or what our record is,” Ferguson.
No change for St. Thomas Academy hockey
St. Thomas Academy's boys' hockey team, Class 1A state champions in 2006 and 2008, will not opt-up to Class 2A, school activities director Jack Zahr said.
"A case could be made either way," Zahr said. "But it was an administrative decision and ultimately it's the best thing for our school at this time."
Zahr said the school "will re-examine" the issue in the future. St. Thomas Academy, an all-boys school located in Mendota Heights, missed qualifying for the Class 1A tournament the past two seasons.