The new competitive sections for the next two school years have been revealed. Litchfield High School’s sports teams will see new opponents in some of its sections while changing sections altogether in others.
One of the biggest changes comes on the football field where Litch is switching from Section 6AAA to Section 2AAA. The Dragons join Belle Plaine, Dassel-Cokato, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Holy Family, Rockford and Watertown-Mayer in their new section. Holy Family finished runner-up in the section last year while Dassel-Cokato comes down from Class 4A.
“One of the biggest differences is that our section play will be similar to our regular season play, with a few exceptions,” head coach Jim Jackman said. “With 6AAA, you had a combination of three different districts with very few teams playing each other. Both sections have had great history ... 2AAA will continue to be a competitive section.”
The girls tennis team is switching from Section 5A to Section 2A. The two-time defending section champions and Annandale are leaving 5A to join Belle Plaine, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Holy Family, LeSueur-Henderson, Redwood Valley and Sibley East in Section 2A. LeSueur-Henderson was the section’s runner-up last year to Jordan, which left the section.
“We were surprised to move sections,” Draeger said. “But two teams from Section 2A were bumped up to AA, and it looks like they took the two teams furthest east from Section 5 and moved them over.”
Wrestling will feature a new section next school year as Litchfield is switching from Section 6AA to Section 3AA. Its new section opponents include: Dawson-Boyd-LQPV-Montevideo, Fairmont/Martin County West, Luverne, MAHACA, Marshall, New London-Spicer, New Ulm, Redwood-River Valley, Windom/Mountain Lake and Worthington. Marshall is the defending section champion and finished runner-up at the state tournament.
“We will miss the traditional section rivals that 6AA provided,” head coach Dan Buker said. “There are some tough teams in 3AA as well. Only difference is the travel times will be longer for Litchfield since we are on the outer edge of the section.”
Softball has a new path to the state tournament, with the Dragons switching from Section 5AA to Section 3AA. Litchfield’s new section opponents are: ACGC, Dassel-Cokato, Jackson County Central, Luverne, Minneota/Canby, Minnewaska, Montevideo, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta, New London-Spicer, Pipestone, Redwood Valley, Saint James, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton and Windom. Pipestone was the section champion last season and took third at the state tournament.
The dance team is jumping back up to Class 2A after two seasons at 1A. Litchfield joins Section 3AA, along with Belle Plaine, Delano, Fairmont, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Holy Family, Hutchinson, Jordan, Marshall, Mayer Lutheran, Mound Westonka, New Ulm, Orono, Rockford and Willmar.
Section 2A will have a new boys swimming and diving champion next winter, as defending champ Sauk Rapids-Rice has left DC/Litch’s section to move up to Class 2A. There is no change to the girls swimming and diving Section 2A field.
A pair of gymnastics teams are leaving Litchfield’s Section 6A. Gone are Melrose and Maple Lake, bringing the count down to eight section teams. Melrose finished second in the section last season while Maple Lake finished sixth.
One team is out and two teams are in to the boys tennis team’s Section 6A field. Gone is Benson/KMS, and in comes North Branch and conference rival Mound Westonka.
Baseball’s Section 5AA lost three teams, bringing the section’s total down to 15. Gone are Fourth Baptist Christian, Maranatha Christian and Minneapolis North.
The ACGC boys golf team is joining Litchfield in Section 3AA, bringing the section up to 15 teams. The girls golf team’s Section 3AA lost a pair of teams with Martin County West and Fairmont exiting.
Section 2A got one team lighter in the girls hockey field, with Waconia leaving the section to jump to Class 2A. The boys hockey team remains in Section 3A with no changes to the section.
One team left the girls basketball team’s Section 3AA tournament with Martin County West dropping down to Class 1A. The boys basketball team, which competes in Section 5AA, lost FAIR School and Wellstone International/Heritage Academy from its section.
Two schools left the track and field team’s Section 5A, while one new school joined. Gone is ACGC and Watertown-Mayer, while new to the section is Parnassus Prep.
The volleyball team’s Section 3AA lineup didn’t see any changes. The cross country team’s Section 6A also didn’t see any teams come or go.