High school sports head in new direction this fall

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Those of you who regularly peruse the Maine Principals’ Association’s Heal Points standings will be in for a change this fall.

And this winter and spring as well.

Big changes are afoot in high school sports, not just in the high profile sports of football and basketball, but in many others as well as the familiar East/West classification is now North/South.

Most classifications remain the same, but there are some things to be aware of as a new school year dawns.

Football, which added a fourth class two years ago, has fine tuned which teams are in which region.

The new Northern Class A division includes Cheverus and Portland (along with Bangor, Edward Little, Lewiston, Oxford Hills and Windham), but Deering has been shifted to Southern Class A, joining Scarborough and South Portland (along with Bonny Eagle, Massabesic, Sanford and defending Class A state champion Thornton Academy).

A dozen teams are now in Southern Class B, including Falmouth and Greely. Biddeford, a Class A stalwart for decades, has moved down. Gorham, Kennebunk, Leavitt, Marshwood, Morse, Mt. Ararat, Noble, Westbrook and York round out that region.

Cape Elizabeth, Freeport and Yarmouth are joined in Southern Class C by Fryeburg Academy, Gray-New Gloucester, Lake Region, Mountain Valley, Poland, Spruce Mountain and Wells.

The soccer classifications are more or less the same with the big news being Falmouth, as it did in 2013 and 2014, continuing to play a Western Maine Conference regular schedule, then moving up to Southern Class A for the playoffs. Cheverus, Deering, McAuley (girls only), Portland, Scarborough and South Portland are also in that region.

Southern Class B includes defending boys’ champion Yarmouth, perennial powerhouses Cape Elizabeth and Greely and Freeport.

Waynflete will be a top contender in Southern Class C.

North Yarmouth Academy will drop to Southern Class D. South Portland’s Greater Portland Christian School and Freeport’s Pine Tree Academy also play in that region.

Field hockey has just three classes. Southern Class A includes Cheverus, Deering, Falmouth, Portland, Scarborough and South Portland.

Southern Class B features Cape Elizabeth, Freeport, Greely, the McAuley/Waynflete co-op team (also known as the CMW Flying Lions) and Yarmouth, which moves up after  a successful two-year stint in Class C.

North Yarmouth Academy is the lone local team playing in Southern Class C.

Volleyball, which now has 29 varsity programs state-wide, remains two classes with no regions. Yarmouth, the two-time Class B state champion, is in Class A this fall, along with defending champion Cape Elizabeth, perennial powerhouses Falmouth, Greely and Scarborough, Cheverus, South Portland and first-year varsity programs Deering and Portland.

NYA will continue to compete in Class B.

Golf remains unchanged, other than local teams now playing in the South instead of the West.

Cheverus, Deering, Falmouth, Greely, Portland, Scarborough and South Portland are in Southern Class A.

Cape Elizabeth, Freeport and Yarmouth play in Southern Class B.

NYA, Waynflete and McAuley (girls only) are in Southern Class C.

In cross country, Southern Class A includes Cheverus, Deering, Falmouth, Portland, Scarborough and South Portland.

Southern Class B features Cape Elizabeth, Freeport, Greely and Yarmouth.

Southern Class C includes McAuley, NYA, Waynflete and perennial contender Merriconeag-Waldorf from Freeport.

The high school sports regular season begins Friday, Aug. 28 with golf. Field hockey starts Wednesday, Sept. 2. The other sports begin Friday, Sept. 4.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.