Activities directors and coaches throughout Minnesota spent Thursday afternoon first waiting to learn their teams’ competitive section placements for the next two seasons and then determining the pros and cons.

The two-year placement cycle, unanimously approved Thursday by the Minnesota State High School League board of directors, takes effect in the fall of 2019. Among the notable changes:

Lakeville’s North and South high schools, usually the two-headed monster of Section 1, are splitting up. North moves to Section 3 in both genders of basketball plus girls’ hockey.

Perhaps the biggest shift came in girls’ hockey, where perennial stalwart Minnetonka moves from Section 2 to Section 6 and its stacked lineup of Blake, three-time defending champion Edina and Wayzata.

“That’s quite disappointing,” Blake coach Shawn Reid said. “It makes the most difficult section in the state more difficult.”

Cooper moves up to Class 4A from 3A in both boys’ and girls’ basketball and enters an already strong Section 6 featuring Armstrong, Hopkins (defending champion in both genders) and Wayzata.

Minnehaha Academy, which recently won its third consecutive Class 2A boys’ basketball state championship, was approved to opt up to 3A. It moves into Section 4 with the likes of Columbia Heights and defending section champion Mahtomedi.

In Class 2A wrestling, powers Kasson-Mantorville and Simley remain together in Section 1.

Click here to see all competitive section assignments for the next two-year cycle.

League policy states that section placement is not subject to appeal.

Boys’ volleyball spiked

While several board members consider it inevitable to add boys’ volleyball as a league-sanctioned sport, they voted 12-7 against sending an amendment to the league’s Representative Assembly for potential approval in May.

Five people addressed the board to speak in favor of boys’ volleyball, including Hugh McCutcheon, coach of the University of Minnesota women’s volleyball team.

Concerns included costs, available athletes and a previous inability to gain approval from nine of the league’s 16 region committees. Still a club sport, boys’ volleyball will be played this spring by about 1,000 athletes representing 51 schools.

Expansion plans

With a moratorium on state tournament expansion lifted, several sports have submitted related proposals that will be voted upon at the June 3.

Boys’ and girls’ basketball want to modify the Class 4A section tournaments by pairing the final 16 teams using geography and team strength as criteria. Both coaches’ associations also want a shot clock implemented.

Boys’ and girls’ cross-country, soccer and tennis seek to add a third class while volleyball wants to add to a fourth class. Wrestling wants a full consolation bracket for individuals.

Staff writer Jim Paulsen contributed to this report.