Pioneer up to Class 2A for volleyball, basketball
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Pioneer did not win a girls basketball sectional this year, but they are staying in Class 2A anyway.
They are also moving up to Class 2A in volleyball and boys basketball.
That’s per the IHSAA sport classifications that were released Monday covering the fall and winter team sports. Sectional alignments will be released on May 3.
Pioneer ascended to Class 2A in girls basketball per the IHSAA Success Factor following the 2020-21 season, which concluded with Pioneer beating Loogootee 43-42 for the Class 1A state title.
Since Pioneer did not win its Class 2A sectional this year, they would have been eligible to move back down to Class 1A. But due to increased enrollment, they will stay in Class 2A anyway.
The composition of Pioneer’s Class 2A sectional will be different. Rochester, who won 16 regular season games but lost to Pioneer in the sectional quarterfinals, will be moving up to Class 3A based on their increased enrollment.
Teams new to Class 2A include Eastern (Greentown) and Wheeler, both of whom move down from Class 3A; and Lafayette Central Catholic, North Miami, Covington and Fremont, both of whom move up from Class 1A.
Lafayette Central Catholic was the Class 1A state runner-up last year. North Miami won their Class 1A sectional before falling to Lafayette Central Catholic in the regional final at Wes-Del.
Pioneer has won five sectional titles since the inception of class basketball, all of them in Class 1A.
They will now try their hand in Class 2A. Among the other schools moving up to Class 2A are 1A state champ North Daviess, 1A state runner-up Lafayette Central Catholic, 1A regional champion Gary 21st Century, 1A sectional champion Fremont and North Miami.
Lighthouse CPA, a Gary-based school who won a 3A sectional last month, moves down to Class 2A based on declining enrollment.
Eastern and Wheeler also move down from Class 3A.
Rensselaer, who won the Class 2A sectional title at Winamac last month, moves up to Class 3A.
Pioneer saw their run of 15 straight sectional titles end with a loss to Southwood in a 1A sectional final last October. That came one year after their first 1A state title.
Now they will enter a 2A landscape that includes South Central (Union Mills), Andrean, Rochester, North Judson and Wapahani.
Wapahani moves back down from Class 3A after a one-year stint there due to the Success Factor.
After Pioneer won a Class 2A regional in 2020, they were guaranteed another cycle in Class 2A. The IHSAA automatically bumped Pioneer up to Class 2A following their back-to-back 1A state titles in 2017 and 2018.
All eight teams in Sectional 34 will return to Class 2A. A newcomer to Class 2A is Winamac, who moves up based on enrollment. Lake Station and Churubusco are other northern schools that will move up from Class 1A.
Benton Central will move down from Class 3A to Class 2A.