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Local teams affected by reclassification

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 23, 1998

LAPLACE – Local districts will have a new look after the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s second reclassification meeting Wed- nesday in Baton Rouge.

Plan One for Class 3A was approved by the LHSAA executive committee while a Plan Two was introduced for the other six classes. The final planfor those classes has to be approved at the final reclassification meeting sch-eduled for Wednesday, Dec. 2 in Baton Rouge. The reclassification willbe in effect for the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 school sessions.

Three River Parishes schools already know their status for next year.

Lutcher, St. James and St. Charles Catholic will compete in District 9-3Aalong with Donaldsonville and E.D. White. St. Charles Catholic moves upfrom Class 2A where it has competed since the 1993 season after dropping down from Class 3A. St. Charles Catholic replaces Plaqueminewhich moved up to Class 4A.

St. Charles Catholic athletic director Don Fernandez said that it is a two-way feeling about the move up.

“We have had a lot of success at 2A and have built relations with the schools at that level but we also have friends in the new district,” Fernandez said.

“It is going to be a challenge for us – more numbers and bigger athletes.

We had that challenge eight years ago and the coaches and athletes stepped up and met the challenge.”Moving up means that St. Charles Catholic will no longer be in the samedistrict as rivals Riverside and West St. John. While it does not appear St.Charles Catholic and West St. John will meet in football, the rivalry maycontinue in other sports.

Fernandez said the new district could allow the school to gain three or four new rivalries.

St. Charles Catholic gets some of its students from Lutcher and the twoschools have met each other the last two years in the River Parishes Jamboree. E.D. White is a Catholic school of comparable size to St. CharlesCatholic and St. James offers another River Parishes rival.The rivalry with Riverside will definitely continue according to both Fernandez and Riverside principal Barry Heltz. In fact, the two schools arescheduled to play each other in the first game of the 1999 football season.

“Both schools recognize that the kids look forward to it, it is financially rewarding to both schools and it is something people want to see,” Fernandez said. “The kids enjoy it and it helps in funding other sports.”Heltz agreed that the rivalry is good for both schools, both financially and the interest it draws.

“Financially what we make, it almost covers the rest of the year,” Heltz said.

Whether or not the Riverside-West St. John rivalry continues as a districtgame will be decided at the next reclassification meeting. Both schoolshave been placed in the New Orleans-based District 9-2A along with Buras, Fisher, Newman, Redeemer-Seton and Ridge-wood.

Heltz appealed the decision, asking that Riverside be assigned instead to the Northshore-based District 8-2A with Pine, Pope John Paul II, Springfield, St. Thomas Aquinas, Jewel Sumner and Varnado. Riversidecompeted in the district north of the lake during the 1993-94 and ’94-95 sessions.

Heltz gave travel concerns as the reason for asking for the switch. He saidthat it is a two hour drive to Buras under perfect conditions and with spring sports it may be longer. Heltz pointed out that playing in theNorthshore district may allow athletes to miss only one class period while playing in the city may cause them to miss three or four classes a day.

West St. John coach Laury Dupont agreed that it is a long trip to Buras, butother than that, he agrees with the move to District 9-2A.

“Where we belong is in the city,” Dupont said. “I have no problems withit.”Under the LHSAA’s recent plan, East St. John, Destrehan and Hahnvillewould move to District 7-5A along with fellow 6-5A members Central Lafourche, South Lafourche and Thibodaux. The schools would be joined bySouth Terrebonne, moving up from District 9-4, while H.L. Bourgeois andTerrebonne move down to that district.

Reserve Christian moves into District 13-B where it will be paired with French Settlement, Louise McGehee, Mt. Hermon and Phoenix.

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