Let's start here: The IHSAA made two big announcements regarding spring sports Tuesday morning. The first is the realignment of the sectionals, and the second is even bigger: The softball state finals will be played at Purdue.
Softball was the last major sport with a state championship not at a college or professional venue. Held at Ben Davis High School since 2005 and Cherry Tree Softball Complex in Carmel from 1990-2004, the softball state finals hadn't been at a university since it was played at IUPUI from 1985-89.
Meanwhile, the IHSAA said that Purdue hasn't held a state championship since 1943, when it was the host of the boys swimming and diving championships.
This is big because it finally gives softball players a college venue at which to play their finals, not allowing a single high school assumptive "home field advantage."
Moving on to the changes in the sectional alignments, here's where the biggest moves were made (check out the individual graphics at the side of the article for full sectional assignments by class):
Class 4A softball
Kankakee Valley, moving up after back-to-back state appearances joins Sectional 1. This is an interesting move because when KV was moved up to 4A in girls basketball it was put into Sectional 2. Assuming geography is the No. 1 reason for the allocation to a specific sectional, there's a conundrum as to why the Kougars would be slated in one for basketball and another for softball.
It also means that Sectional 1 is a seven-team softball sectional, while 2 remains at six teams.
Class 3A softball
Sectional 17 went from six teams to eight when the loss of KV meant the breakup of 18.
Sectional 18, previously a five-team sectional with Andrean, Glenn, Hanover Central, Kankakee Valley and Twin Lakes, is now a six-team sectional with no Region teams.
Sectional 17 now holds Calumet, West Side (dropped down from 4A), Griffith, Hammond, Clark, Gavit, Hanover Central (moved from Sectional 18) and Highland.
Class 2A softball
Like in basketball, Andrean and Bishop Noll are joined in a sectional of five with Whiting, River Forest and Lake Station.
Wheeler moves over to Sectional 34 — now a seven-team sectional, go figure — with Boone Grove and Hebron.
Class A softball
We're not ignoring it, but there aren't major changes to the Region's teams.
Class 4A baseball
Andrean drops out of Sectional 2, and West Side leaves Sectional 1 as both become six-team sectionals.
Class 3A baseball
The Niners rejoin Sectional 18 with Hanover Central, Kankakee Valley, Knox, Twin Lakes and Wheeler. With Wheeler moving up from 2A and Andrean dropping down from 4A, 18 moves from a four-team sectional to one with six teams.
Class 2A baseball
Bowman is part of Sectional 33, but the Eagles can't play in the postseason for another year while still serving IHSAA sanctions.
With Wheeler out of Sectional 34, the new 34 is a six-team sectional.
Class A baseball
No major changes here, either.