Newark's two-year run in Division 2 and the Blue Hen Conference's Flight B will come to an end based upon enrollment numbers announced by the Delaware Department of Education.
The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association splits its two divisions based on school enrollment, with the smallest Division 1, or larger, public school from the Henlopen North or Blue Hen Flight A setting the classification for charters, privates, and out-of-state opponents.
The enrollment figures are based upon what is normally a September 30 count, but was moved to November 13 to account for changes in virtual and hybrid learning during the pandemic.
The numbers also determine the unit counts for funding for school districts.
Odessa High School's opening this fall made them the 17th Blue Hen Conference member, containing the traditional public and Vo-tech schools in New Castle County.
Instead of the 8-8 split, they will go back to a 9-8 split for the first time since Wilmington Charter/Cab Calloway broke away from the conference to eventually join the Diamond State Conference.
If Odessa had not been formed, Newark still would have jumped back into Flight A, because they leaped over Concord, who now has the 9th-highest enrollment in the Blue Hen Conference at 1,052. Concord is still comfortably ahead of the 10th school, Brandywine, who has 940 students.
The 2021-22 and 2022-23 Flight A will consist of: William Penn (2297), Middletown (1701), Appoquinimink (1613), Delcastle (1576), Hodgson (1103), St. Georges (1090), Mount Pleasant (1078), Newark (1069), and Concord (1052).
Flight B will be: Brandywine (940), McKean (911), Howard (875), Christiana (787), Glasgow (734), A.I. duPont (717), Dickinson (670), and Odessa (250).
There are no changes in the Henlopen Conference, except Sussex Central jumped Dover as the conference's second-largest school.
Henlopen North remains Caesar Rodney (2046), Sussex Central (1821), Dover (1768), Smyrna (1677), Cape Henlopen (1637), Sussex Tech (1239), Polytech (1182), and Milford (1122).
Henlopen South is Indian River (968), Lake Forest (814), Seaford (797), Laurel (671), Woodbridge (670), Delmar (627), Sussex Academy (540), and Early College High School at Delaware State (399).
The biggest growth in high school student population over the past two years has been at Sussex Central (+160), Brandywine (+159), Cape Henlopen (+138), Smyrna (+125), Caesar Rodney (+119), and William Penn (+111).
Schools with the biggest drops included Red Clay schools A.I. duPont (-163) and Dickinson (-157). McKean saw an increase of 63 students.
There still remains the possibility that football could go to a three division system in the fall, but discussions continue with no firm resolution in place.