MHS going back to 5A (except football) hardly earth shattering

By Steve Sell
June 15, 2017

McPherson High’s time as a big fish in a small pond for all sports other than football will apparently be over soon.

Based on trending enrollment figures, MHS will be moving back to Class 5A for all sports other than football beginning with the 2018-19 school year.

That came to fruition on Wednesday when the Kansas State High School Activities Association announced the results of two proposals that were voted on by the member schools. Both proposals passed.

It was thought the football proposal would pass, but the other proposal that would change classifications was thought to be a tough sell. The vote was slightly closer for the latter proposal.

This isn’t earth-shattering news for McPherson High. After all, MHS for decades was the small fish in the big 5A pond, yet won numerous state championships in a myriad of sports.

In fact, McPherson didn’t become a 4A school until the 2011-12 school year. 

So this news shouldn’t send Bullpup Nation into a tizz. It means the Bullpups will be facing tougher competition, but I know a lot of our coaches say you only get better by competing against the best. 

That’s why MHS Athletic Director Shane Backhus, who voted in favor of both proposals, schedules the way he does for all sports. You look at the McPherson Invitational and Mid America Classic basketball tournaments and they’re loaded with bigger schools. Both Bullpup teams play three games in three nights, much like state. Also, Backhus schedules strong non-league teams as this past year MHS played the likes of Miege, Derby and Newton.

You look at other MHS sports and Backhus does the same. The Bullpups try to find the best tournaments possible to compete in and it generally pays off come regional, sub-state and state time.

I do like the fact the Bullpups are remaining in Class 4A for football. While they had a nice run in 5A for about six years under Tom Young, we just don’t have the numbers year-in and year-out to contend with the likes of, say, Bishop Carroll or Kapaun. I think 4A is the right level because there’s a lot of good football teams in the class. Buhler, I know, would be a top state contender year-in and year-out in 5A.

So while this year is going to be status quo, the 2018-19 school year will tingle with anticipation of moving back and running with the bigger schools. It’s a challenge for the coaches and the athletes as well. I’m sure they’ll be up for the task.

About the only negative I see is that many of the state events for 4A are based in Salina, while many of the 5A events are in Topeka.

• Note — Sell on Sports will be on vacation until Monday.