Proposed Class 3A realignment draws criticism

Forest Wiest, the supervisor of athletics for Harford County, said he is among a number of officials who will express dissatisfaction with proposed realignments for the Class 3A East and North regions at Wednesday's state association Board of Control meeting.

At issue for Wiest are what he called the "travel inequities" of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association's reclassification of teams from Howard, Anne Arundel and Harford counties into the 3A East, and those from Baltimore County and Baltimore City into the 3A North. The state reclassifications, which would go into effect for the fall of 2005, take place every two years based on changing enrollments.


Others, Wiest said, are upset because of perceived competitive inequities.

A source close to the reclassification committee said a group plans to introduce to the Board of Control a counterproposal that would group Baltimore and Harford counties into the 3A North, and the other three districts into the East.


Under the existing proposal, the East would be made up of Howard County's Centennial, Long Reach, Mount Hebron, River Hill and Wilde Lake; Harford County's Aberdeen, Bel Air, Edgewood, Fallston and North Harford; Anne Arundel County's Annapolis, Northeast and Severna Park; and James M. Bennett of the Eastern Shore.

The 3A North would have Baltimore County's Catonsville, Dundalk, Franklin, Patapsco and Towson; and Baltimore City's Carver, Lake Clifton, Mervo, Walbrook and Western.

"I have a problem with getting [Harford] kids out of school an hour or [90 minutes] earlier than usual to travel through one region [Baltimore County] to play in another region [Howard or Anne Arundel]," Wiest said. "You wouldn't expect Baltimore City to travel through Fredrick County and Washington County to get to Allegany County, would you? They need to be realigned more in a geographical sense."

In football this year, Long Reach, River Hill, Severna Park, Aberdeen and Bel Air made the 3A playoffs. Of the proposed North Region teams, only Catonsville had a winning record and made the playoffs, losing in the first round to Bel Air.

In boys soccer, River Hill, Fallston and Severna Park won East, North and South region titles, respectively. River Hill defeated Fallston in the 3A state semifinals, then defeated Severna Park in the state final.

In girls soccer, Centennial, a state finalist, defeated River Hill in the region final. Severna Park was a state semifinalist, and Bel Air was a regional finalist.