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Central will get a run for its money next season

The Bears must face tougher competition with move up to 3A.


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 6, 2001

Central's pursuit of a boys state championship next year got a little bit tougher Wednesday as the Florida High School Activities Association released its classifications for competition for the next two seasons.

The changes are based on shifts in student enrollment. Schools are classified by the number of students enrolled in grades 9-11, instead of grades 10-12 as has been the case in recent years. Central is moving up a level to Class 3A, and unfortunately for the Bears, their new home has plenty of state-caliber competition.

"It's going to be tough," said coach Vic Cervizzi, rattling off a laundry list of schools his team will have to get past just to make the state meet.

Of the 12 squads in Central's district, four placed in the top eight in their class last season -- the Bears, who finished seventh in Class 2A; Flagler Palm Coast and Ocala Vanguard, sixth and eighth, respectively, in 3A; and toughest of all, Longwood Lyman, which took third in 4A, the state's largest class. And that's just the district. Across the state, Class 3A looks to be the toughest of the four divisions, based on teams' success last year.

The class retained 16 of the top 20 teams from last year's 3A state meet, with No. 1 Jacksonville Bishop Kenny as the only school in the top nine to change classes. That was quickly offset by the addition of eight schools that finished among the top 20 in other classes, including four of 4A's top eight: No. 1 Atlantic, No. 3 Lyman, No. 6 Niceville and No. 8 Fort Walton Beach.

The Central girls team, which placed 11th in Class 2A last season, isn't hit as hard by the change in classification. Two of the top three teams in Class 3A -- state champion Bishop Kenny and No. 3 Miami Our Lady of Lourdes -- have moved down to 2A, and none of the teams that moved into Class 3A is ranked higher than fifth.

Springstead, too, moved up to 3A, though the Eagles' success on the state level last year was limited to junior Lindsay Boldt, who finished 19th in the Class 2A meet.

Hernando remains in 2A, which isn't any easier, with Central as the highest-ranked team to move to another class. Ten of the top 12 squads in Class 2A remain, and the class added 3A state champion Bishop Kenny, Class A No. 3 Tallahassee Childs and St. Augustine Nease, which finished 10th in 4A and dropped two levels with the reclassifications.

The FHSAA unveiled classifications for golf and swimming, with less dramatic changes for county schools. In golf, Central will move up to join Springstead in Class 2A, and Hernando will remain in Class A -- still in the same district with perennial powerhouse Saddlebrook Academy. In swimming, all three county schools will compete in the same district (Class 2A-4) the next two seasons. Last year, Central and Springstead were 2A schools. Hernando competed in Class A.

The FHSAA is expected to release wrestling classifications today on its official Web site,

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