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Roncalli to move to Class B in multiple sports

Members of the Aberdeen Roncalli girls basketball team empty the bench at the final buzzer after winning the Class A championship game in Watertown. Photo by John Davis taken 3/13/2021

There will be a new look for some of the Aberdeen Roncalli athletic teams come fall.

The Cavaliers are moving down to Class B in volleyball, basketball, cross country, and track and field, pending a realignment vote by the South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors later this month.

The move is based solely on enrollment.

“We’ve known for a while now that we would be dropping down to B in volleyball, basketball, cross country and track,” said Roncalli co-athletic director Terry Dosch, who shares the AD duties with Mark Stone. “We’re like 14 kids under what the cutoff is. As Coach Stone and I looked at that and evaluated that, talked it over with our administration and coaches and stuff, we just felt like it was best for our kids to compete where our enrollment lies.”

It should be noted that the realignment does not include all sports. Golf will remain the same for the Cavaliers for several reasons.

”In girls’ golf we’re in a three-school coop with Aberdeen Christian and Warner. Unfortunately right now we’re not drawing any kids from either of those schools, but their enrollment still counts,” Dosch said. “So, we will be A in girls’ golf and we will be A in boys’ golf. They go separately from basketball, volleyball, cross country and track. If you’re B in one, you’re B in them all. It doesn’t matter. If you’re A in one, you’re A in all. Golf operates separately from that.”

As far as boys’ golf is concerned, Dosch said course availability plays a factor in Roncalli’s decision to remain in Class A.

“Our boys’ golf is going to stay A and I think maybe part of that is, it’s a little bit easier to get course time for golf in the fall than it is in the spring,” Dosch said. “I don’t think it’s really competition wise, I think it was more of a logistic thing that took place there.”

Roncalli will move into Region 1B in the four aforementioned sports that are dropping down. Other teams in the region will include Aberdeen Christian, Britton-Hecla, Langford Area, Leola-Frederick, Northwestern, Warner, Waubay-Summit and Wilmot.

You could make arguments either way whether the move to a different class is beneficial or detrimental as far as the quality of competition. Volleyball and girls’ basketball are a case in point.

“It depends on who you are and what you’re thinking. Somebody would say well it’s good or it’s bad,” Dosch said. “In volleyball it certainly doesn’t make it very easy, because it’s a tough region. But there are not necessarily any easy things that go along with it. Some people have said, ‘Well gee, your girls won the State A basketball tournament. What does that mean?’ Well, it means they’ll have to beat whoever they play next year, I guess. We just felt like it was best for our kids to compete with where they’re at.”

The upcoming realignment is for just one year, unlike the traditional two-year period, but that doesn’t mean Roncalli will jump right back up to Class A again the following season.

“I supposed it depends on if they change the enrollment figures. I don’t think our enrollment is going to change drasticially based on the kids that I see in seventh and eighth grade,” Dosch said. “Our eighth-grade class is a skosh bigger, our seventh-grade class is a little bit smaller. I guess I would not anticipate (going back up) depending on where they draw the line of demarcation.”

Dosch said what also factors in with some sports is cooperative agreements.

“Sometimes I think that people don’t understand that. What’s the enrollment set that’s there that comes with it. In football if we were not in the coop with Aberdeen Christian we would certainly be nine-man. But with that enrollment it keeps us up in the 11-man. And when they redid (the numbers), they actually bumped down the number a little bit, because there were some teams that were nine-man last year that will be 11-man.”

So what that all this mean? Not much for the regular season, but major differences in the post postseason for the sports of volleyball, basketball, cross country and track and field.

“I wouldn’t think they’d notice any difference until we got to post season,” Dosch said of the casual fans. “Then they’ll be like, ‘Oh, we’re not playing Groton?’ Nope, we’re not playing Groton. ‘We’re not playing Milbank?’ Nope, we’re not playing Milbank. But we will during the season. We’re still part of the Northeast Conference so that changes nothing. It’s just who we would compete against in the post season is different.”

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