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Conference realignment decisions highlight latest MHSA board action

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 19, 2023

MISSOULA — Conference realignment at various classifications and sports were among the latest executive board actions taken by the Montana High School Association at its most recent meeting, which began last Saturday and closed Monday in Missoula.

The MHSA issued a press release Thursday outlining its actions for the 2023-24 academic year. The realignments consist of the following:

  • Class A: East Helena will join the Southeast conference. Bigfork, moving up from Class B, will join the Northwest conference.
  • Class B football: Joliet, moving up from the 8-Man ranks, will join the East division. Whitehall, meanwhile, will move from the South division to the West.
  • 8-Man football: A new five-division format was announced. The division are: East, Southeast, South Central, North and West. Manhattan Christian will be a football-playing school next year and will compete in the South Central.
  • 6-Man football: Several moves were made here. Among those, Westby-Grenora will from 8-Man and join the 6-Man Eastern division. Great Falls Central will move from the North to the Central, while the Chester-Joplin-Inverness co-op will switch from the Central to the North.
  • Class B also underwent restructuring for volleyball, basketball and track and field, as did the Eastern division for volleyball in Class C.

Additionally, the MHSA's rules and regulations will be amended for cooperative sponsorships. The release stated, "If the combined enrollments of the schools involved in a combined cooperative program exceeds the minimum number of the next higher classification the combined cooperative team will compete at that higher classification in that activity."

On Saturday, the MHSA allowed the one-year renewal of the 8-Man football co-op between Drummond and Philipsburg, known colloquially as the Flint Creek Titans, following a unanimous 7-0 vote.

To read the full breakdown of the executive board's actions, click here.