22 years. That is how long Rock Creek has opened its doors to education and activities. It is also how long Rock Creek has competed in 3A athletics and activities. This year, however, that changes as the school goes from competing at a 3A level to a 4A level.
“It’s going to be hard [moving to 4A],” sophomore Jackson Goodmiller said. “We haven’t played many of the teams, but it will be a good experience.”
Every year, the Kansas State High School Activities Association requests the official enrollment from schools on Sept. 20 and then divides the schools into six different classes. Class 6A includes the largest 32 schools, then class 5A has the next largest 32 schools. It changes at the 4A and 3A levels, which are made up of the next largest 64 schools for 4A and then 64 schools for 3A. 2A returns to 32 schools, and 1A compiles the schools with the lowest enrollments.
As it turns out, Rock Creek, with its enrollment at 258 on Sept. 20, was large enough to fall into the one of the 64 4A schools this year, but it is now the smallest 4A school. The highest 3A school was at 256 with its current enrollment. To fall under 3A, Rock Creek would have to have had three less students enrolled.
Despite the move to class 4A, Rock Creek will still remain a member of the Mid-East League, according to athletic director Scott Harshbarger.
“This will not change our current league,” Harshbarger said, “for now.”
However, there will still be changes that take effect this year. For athletics, while their regular season league opponents will not change, the post-season opponents will be 4A. Another aspect to change will be the venues that activities and athletic events are hosted at, which will be different compared to what Rock Creek has attended before. For example, the 3A football state championship is held in Hutchinson, but the 4A championship is in Salina.
While there are some effects on post-season competitions and venues in athletics, the move to 4A will also affect other school activities, including band, choir, debate, forensics, journalism and Scholars Bowl, all of which will now face 4A competitors instead of 3A. State forensics will also be held at a different venue. It used to be held in Wichita East High School, but now, it will be held in Washburn Rural High School near Topeka.
“The familiarity is gone,” forensics coach Keith Miller said about the change in venue. “The students have been used to performing in the same building for about four years for some kids.”
Another thought on students’ minds is how this move to 4A will affect academics. To ease the mind of students, this change in state classification will not affect any academics. This includes any state awards, such as the Governors Achievement Award, or any national awards, such as the Blue Ribbon Award.
“After our performance during sub-state volleyball, it showed that we can compete with the bigger schools, and we will always have a chance,” Harshbarger said.
Article by Mason Swenson, Yearbook Co-Editor in Chief