Getting Classier: IHSA adjusts class determinations for U-High sports


Natalie Leathers

Multiple teams stand to benefit from the upcoming season’s change to classes.

Abby Klein, Reporter

The 2019-2021 athletic seasons have the potential to be the most successful seasons that we have seen in a while. IHSA has changed the class size for each sport, putting some sports at a lower level, which in turn will help each team have a more successful postseason.

According to, U-High’s enrollment is 611, but the multiplier of 1.65 increases our school enrollment to a population of 1008.15 people. IHSA also uses the “success factor” to determine a team’s placement in competitive classes depending on how many games they win in postseason.

IHSA took away the multiplier and the success factor for a select few fall and winter sports for the next two school years placing the upcoming fall sports in a lower level class.

The boys cross country team, previously in 3A, and the girls cross country team, previously in 2A, were competing mostly against big Chicago schools with student enrollments that are more than 1,600 students. The reason they were in that class originally was due to previous successes, including the boys’ placing second in state in 2017 and the girls’ trips to state over the recent consecutive years.

However, cross country boys were moved down to class 2A and the girls were moved down to class 1A, both for different reasons.

“In 2018 they [the boys] were moved into 3A. Under the previous rules, they should be 3A this coming fall as well, but because the IHSA has made their changes, they are getting moved back into 2A a year earlier than they should have,” Coach John Neisler said. “Under the new rule, we [girls team] are able to waive the multiplier, classifying us at 610, which moves us into class 1A.”

“It is definitely a huge boost for the boys and girls. The old rules that the IHSA had were ridiculously unfair in that regard for cross country and track,” Neisler said. “A school of our size has absolutely no business being in 3A [or 2A] cross country for any reason.”

Girls varsity basketball coach Laura Sellers shared Neisler’s perspective on the changes.

“When we were 3A, we were on the bottom range of 546-1353 [students],” Sellers said.  “Without any multiplier penalty at 610, we were on the very bottom of the range. With the enrollment change, we will not have a multiplier and the range will be 299-697. So we will be in the top quartile of 2A.”

Sellers adds that this change will improve the overall competitiveness of the games in which U-High teams participate.

“Competing against schools closer to your enrollment instead of double your enrollment is definitely not as much as a physicality challenge, which should give us an advantage,” Sellers said.  

However, she added that the teams should not be looking for an easy welcome in the new classes.

“I don’t think it matters what class we are in. People are not going to like U-High because we are successful with most sports.”