This week, the UIL published alignment changes for the 2018-2019 season, resulting in the greatest statewide impact since the split into two divisions. Several schools moved between 5A and 6A divisions, and regions 2 and 3 saw some pretty significant shake-ups. Similar to the football and basketball realignments, the most striking change was the region 2-6A boundary southern push to include all of the Conroe and Klein schools. In 5A, the two biggest things that jump out are perennial powerhouses Dumas and Randall moving into the same district and Prosper moving up to 6A.
What does this mean for the region to region power shift? We did a quick analysis of next season’s returning state placers in each region – before and after alignment. Starting with boys, the table below shows the number of returning state placers. The columns represent this last season’s alignment, with the rows showing where those wrestlers are aligned next season.
Reading along the bottom row, we see Region 1-6A had the most returning placers for next year with 15. Looking across the top row, all 15 stay in region 1 – so no net change in overall strength with all the shifts. Region 2, however, is the big story. Before realignment, they had 11 returning from the podium (7 from Allen). Next season they have those same 11 plus 4 from 6A regions 3 and 4 and 4 from the 5A schools moving up – for a total of 19. This means that Allen’s 7 returning state placers no longer make up 64% of the regional strength – they are now just over a third at 37%.
Region 3 loses all of the Klein ISD and Conroe ISD schools, which is grossly understated with only one returning state placer coming into next season. Klein HS, The Woodlands HS and a surging College Park pull a massive amount of talent out of region 3. Klein Cain is looking like a future power in only their second year, moving up from 5A. Did we mention Region 2 is looking tougher than just Allen and Rockwall?
So region 3 is heavily weighted towards the Cy-Fair ISD schools (all 12 of them have pretty full rosters) and the Katy ISD schools. The rest of the top wrestlers are scattered between Houston Westside and the Bay Area.
Region 4 6A suffered the greatest dilution with Vandegrift and Vista Ridge (among others) moving into region 2. This reduces their returning state placers from 8 to 5.
In the 5A division, while there were a number of changes, it did not affect nearly as many of the top returning wrestlers. Region 1 was unchanged (aside from the aforementioned overloading of district 3 with both Dumas and Randall). Region 2 sees the biggest change with Prosper and its 3 returning placers going up to 2-6A along with Bryan from region 3-5A. Did anyone notice the crowding in 2-6A? Region 4-5A saw no changes in the top returning wrestlers.
In the girls alignments, the big story is the break-up of Region 3-6A, peeling away the Klein and Conroe schools which will invariably add more Katy and Cy Fair ISD girls to the list of state qualifiers and tighten their monopoly on 6A girls titles (every 6A girls team trophy sits in either Cypress or Katy). Region 1-6A drops El Paso Eastwood to 5A but picks up the Grad Prairie schools region 2. Region 2 more than makes up the losses with the addition of the 5 placers from region 3. Region 3 goes from a state-high of 14 down to 9 – but with less competition from the north, the possibility of a stronger showing for the powerhouses from Katy and Cypress. Region 4 is unchanged.
The power distribution in the 5A girls is practically untouched. Region 1 adds some punch with El Paso Eastwood while region 2-5A transfers out one defending champion with Northwest Eaton’s move to 6A. Region 3 and 4 returning placers stay in region.
This was a very simplistic analysis of a very small population of wrestlers – the 158 underclassmen state placers. There are far more interesting implications at the district level, and when looking at returning state and regional qualifiers. Conclusively though, while the travel miles of several schools are greatly impacted, there is a massive overloading of 6A boy talent into region 2 (is it conceivable for Allen to NOT have all 14 boys qualify for state next year??). The impact on 6A girls could be more interesting. Will Morton Ranch, Cinco Ranch, Katy and Cy Ridge take advantage by getting more girls into the state tournament? Or will Oak Ridge or College Park step up in region 2 and bring more scorers to the big show?