Cretin-Derham Hall, one of the state’s tradition-rich football programs, is moving to Class 5A after competing in school 6A for several years.
The Raiders won two state championships (1999, 2009) playing among the state’s largest schools by enrollment. But declining enrollment and on-field struggles led leadership within the St. Paul school to form a change for a minimum of subsequent two seasons.
With its current enrollment of 940 students, Cretin-Derham Hall would be classified by the Minnesota State high school League as a 4A program. The football program, which traditionally played within the largest available class, opted up to play in school 6A against schools with enrollments of a minimum of 1,711 students.
The move to Class 5A means the Raiders will now play against schools with enrollments of a minimum of 1,086 students.
Since reaching the category 6A state tournament semifinals in 2017, Cretin-Derham Hall finished 5-4 in 2018 and 4-5 in 2019 before plummeting to a 1-6 record last fall. The Raiders allowed 40.1 points per game within the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.
Activities director Phil Archer, a 1999 Cretin-Derham Hall graduate and former football standout said the choice “was received 99.9% positively by students, their families, and other community stakeholders. they’re excited about it, which was a touch unexpected, to be honest. As an alumnus myself, I do know we always took pride in being the small guys that competed well with the large guys. But the conversations I’ve had showed people believe this may be better within the end of the day .”
The decision affects only football. the varsity will learn its football district and section placement later this spring. Schools can make their case for classification changes every two years.
Archer said the varsity is “putting together plans with our coaches, our president, and our athletics administration to return to Class 6A in possibly two years, though it could take up to four.”
Football coach Chuck Miesbauer, a 2003 graduate and former footballer, said within the school’s Wednesday news release, “We are during a new time, and our football program now has a chance to create on our proud history and enhance the program for our student-athletes, also as our fans. Our players are pumped to play against the simplest schools 5A has got to offer. We hope to seek out our friends from St. Thomas Academy on our schedule for subsequent two years.”