April 18, 2024 // Diocese

Defending Champs Luers, Marian Move Up in IHSAA Reclassification

Thanks to achieving a sustained level of success on the field, a pair of diocesan high school athletic programs have proven themselves among the elite in the state of Indiana and have earned an opportunity to compete at an even higher level.

As part of the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s new classifications that were announced on Tuesday, April 2, the football program at Bishop Luers High School and the boys soccer program at Marian High School are both moving up from Class 2A to Class 3A in their respective postseason tournaments. The reclassifications, which occurred across the state in football, volleyball, boys and girls basketball, and boys and girls soccer, will go into effect for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years. They are determined by enrollment figures from last fall and by the Tournament Success Factor, a points system the IHSAA uses to award teams that have attained a certain level of postseason success by moving them up to a higher class than the one they were previously in based on their enrollment.

Damiun Jackson, left, and Gio Jimenez receive the state championship trophy after Bishop Luers captured the Class 2A state title beating North Posey.

For Bishop Luers and Marian, the reclassification comes on the heels of winning a state championship in the fall of 2023 and presents both programs with a unique chance to make history.

“That was my whole goal when I took over [as head coach in 2013]: to get the program in a position to move up because we were doing well, winning tournament games, and there’s nothing wrong with trying to elevate a program with sustained success to move up a class,” Luers head football coach Kyle Lindsay, a proponent of the Tournament Success Factor, told Today’s Catholic. “I hope in a couple years, we’re talking about moving up another class; that should be the goal.”

Lindsay and company knew their 40-3 win again North Posey in the 2023 Class 2A state championship game would bump them up to 3A, where Bishop Luers will play tournament teams with more depth and size due to larger enrollments. However, the Knights face this challenge on a weekly basis during the regular season as the smallest school in the Summit Athletic Conference and are not shying away from the upcoming test.

“Our returning group of kids wants to be the first Luers team to win a 3A title,” Lindsay said. “These kids are looking forward to the challenge, just like we coaches are.”

This isn’t unfamiliar territory for Bishop Luers football. After winning four straight 2A state titles from 2009-12, the Knights were moved up to 3A with the IHSAA’s introduction of the Tournament Success Factor and delivered results, capturing three sectional titles and a pair of regional titles in six years. Although they were reclassified back to 2A in 2019 due to enrollment figures, Lindsay said this experience will help his team in the transition back to 3A.

“We’re going into 3A with a sense of confidence,” said Lindsay, who expects a deeper sectional field than the one his teams have faced in 2A. “As a coaching staff, we’ll have what it takes to be successful in 3A. There are no easy wins when you’re wearing a Bishop Luers uniform, whether in conference play or in the tournament. Our
focus will be to compete and win a city championship, but ultimately, to put our best product onto the field in the tournament.”

Provided by Ben Householter
The Marian High School boys soccer team poses after winning the IHSAA Class 2A state championship with a 4-0 victory over Evansville Memorial at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, October 28.

Meanwhile, the Marian boys soccer team is fresh off back-to-back appearances in the Class 2A state championship game. After a 2-1 overtime defeat to Brebeuf Jesuit in the 2022 title game, the Knights broke through with a 4-0 triumph against Evansville Memorial a year later for the state crown. Although that earned the program its first-ever trip to Class 3A, it’s not an entirely new feeling for Knights head coach Ben Householter.

“Honestly, it kind of feels
like coming full circle,” Householter said of the move up to 3A. “When I first started coaching, soccer was single class. We played bigger schools in sectionals quite often in the postseason, so I know the challenge ahead. We play mainly larger schools on our schedule during the regular season. We will definitely have a young team coming in after losing 12 seniors from last year. That will be a good challenge for them – kind of a trial by fire for the young guys – but we’re definitely ready for the challenge.”

Householter has been at the helm of the program for all three of its state championships – Class 1A titles in 2015 and 2016 when there were only two classes, and a 2A title in 2023 when there were three classes. However, he said he will draw from his prior experience coaching soccer in a single-class system when addressing his players to help prepare them for tournament play.

“We won sectionals, we won regionals, we won semistates when there was only one class, and every team we played in sectionals, regionals, and semistate was 2-3 times bigger than our school – and we were still able to compete with them,” Householter said. “I will very much reference this past history.”

Two other diocesan teams are also on the move due to the IHSAA’s reclassifications. Bishop Luers’ girls soccer program is moving up from Class 1A to 2A due to enrollment, while Saint Joseph High School’s girls soccer program is dropping from Class 3A back to 2A after playing up a class since 2019 due to the Tournament Success Factor. The Huskies won three sectional titles and two regional titles during their five-year run in Class 3A.

The IHSAA will announce new sectional groupings for each sport later this spring.

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