Central Texas expected to welcome multiple class 5A programs
Thursday, 4th November 2021 - 7:33AM

Garrett Ross

After having only one class 5A program (Waco University) in the Central Texas area over the past few UIL realignments, the area could see a drastic change this time around. The realignments take place in two-year cycles and are based off of the enrollment for each high school.

As the population in the area continues to grow, more school districts have been forced to build additional schools to help keep up with the boom. While the Waco area hasn’t been impacted as much in this cycle, the Temple, Belton, and Killeen area has seen a drastic change.

One significant change is coming out of Belton, where the district had to build a second high school last year (Lake Belton) to keep up with the ever growing population.

Lake Belton was classified as a 4A program in all sports other than football over the past two years. As the UIL began accepting snapshot numbers last week, Lake Belton turned in an enrollment number of 2,123 students, which is expected to place them in class 5A-DI this upcoming season.

The new addition had an impact on Belton high school, who has been a 6A program for quite some time. Belton turned in an enrollment number of 1,917 on snapshot day, which should make the Tigers a 5A-DII program this upcoming UIL cycle.

The Killeen area is no stranger to population growth, or building new high schools. Fort Hood contributes to a majority of the population shift, with soldiers and their families always on the move keeping our nation safe.

Killeen ISD will be welcoming in a new high school this UIL realignment with the addition of Killeen Chaparral. Chaparral turned in an enrollment of 1,625.5, which would qualify them as a 5A-DII program.

The usual suspects, Killeen High, Killeen Ellison, and Killeen Shoemaker, have been impacted by the addition of Chaparral.

Killeen High turned in an enrollment of 2,189.5, Shoemaker turned in an enrollment of 2,126.5, and Ellison turned in an enrollment of 2,077.5, which should make all three schools eligible to be 5A-DI programs.

While the Waco area didn’t have the significant changes that Belton and Killeen had, there is a change coming to the city. Waco High was on the cusp of becoming a 5A program last realignment, but unfortunately was sent up to 6A.

Waco High turned in an enrollment number of 2,078 on snapshot day, which would make the Lions eligible to become a class 5A-DI program. Waco University turned in an enrollment of 1,740, which will allow them to remain a 5A-DI program.

The UIL realignments are always a great mystery due to the logistical nightmare created by the addition of divisions within classifications, so it’s hard to predetermine what a district might look like. However, one viable solution for the Central Texas area would be placing Waco High, Waco University, Lake Belton, Killeen, Shoemaker, and Ellison in the same class 5A-DI district.

The two outliers, Belton High and Killeen Chaparral, would likely be placed in a 5A-DII district with schools from the Austin area. While they won’t be in the same district as the other local 5A programs, they can play in non-district and keep the rivalries alive.

Regardless of how things shake out when the UIL announces the new districts, it’s nice to see a large group of 5A programs in the area with a lot of history between them.
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