Having eight fewer students than Polytech High School allowed Milford High School to stay in the Henlopen Conference Southern Division for two more seasons.

Having eight fewer students than Polytech High School allowed Milford High School to stay in the Henlopen Conference Southern Division for two more seasons.

“Overall it’s good,” Milford Athletic Director Glen Stevenson said. “We play teams we can compete with, which is a good thing.”

Milford’s 2008 enrollment was 1,156 students. Polytech’s was 1,164. Enrollment was up big for Milford from 2006, when MHS had 1,088 students, while Polyech had 1,160 students in 2006.

MHS moved to the Henlopen South for athletics in 2006 from the Henlopen North, switching spots with Smyrna High School. Smyrna is now the third-largest school in the Henlopen Conference with 1,327 students.

It continues the steady increase for both schools since 2004. In that year, Milford had 1,018 students, while Polytech had 1,151.

“I don’t have much concern over which division we are in, as long as we can get in one and stay there,” Stevenson said.

While Milford will stay in the Henlopen South and be considered a Division II school in all sports through 2010-2011 school year, the Bucs will likely move back to the North for the 2011-2012 season.

Polytech is able to control its enrollment numbers, and could cap off at a specific number of students.

Also, Cape Henlopen’s enrollment from 2006 to 2008 increased by just three students to 1,220.

Meanwhile, Milford is well ahead of Indian River as the largest Henlopen South school, as the Indians have 930 students. Lake Forest is the third-largest school with 919 students, which is down from 939 in 2006.

“I would be surprised if we made it another two years in the South, just because we are growing,” Stevenson said.

The conference alignment mainly affects football, wrestling and both basketball teams.

Football plays an entirely different schedule depending on if it is in the North or the South. The past two seasons, Milford has played division games against Indian River, Laurel, Delmar, Seaford, Woodbridge and Lake Forest. If Milford were to be in the North, the Bucs would be playing teams like Caesar Rodney, Sussex Central and Dover in divisional games.

Wrestling always competes against every team in the Henlopen Conference, but, like football, its divisional opponents change. Milford has also had a lot of success wrestling Division II. In 2004, the Bucs won the Division II State Championship, and in 2008, Milford returned to the state tournament for the first time since 2004.

For boys’ basketball, teams have to play schools in its division twice, and schools in the other division once. This gives Milford two games against schools such as Indian River, Laurel, Lake Forest and Delmar, and only one against schools such as Caesar Rodney, Dover, Sussex Tech and Cape Henlopen.

In girls’ basketball, teams do not have to play schools in the opposite division at all. This allows Milford to control its schedule and avoid playing schools such as Caesar Rodney, Dover and Cape Henlopen unless it wants to.

All other sports are affected by having their regular season record rank in the standings against Henlopen South schools instead of Henlopen North Schools.

Since Milford switched back to the South, the field hockey and softball teams have made the state tournament two years in a row, the girls’ basketball team made it last winter, the girls’ tennis team won the Henlopen South, the girls’ track and field team won the Henlopen South and the boys’ track and field team won the 2008 Division II State Championship and Henlopen Conference meet.

Caesar Rodney remained the largest school in the Henlopen Conference. Its enrollment increased from 1,930 students to 2,020. Dover is the next-largest with 1,526 students, which is actually a decrease from 1,573 in 2006.

In the Henlopen South, Seaford saw a decrease from 803 students in 2006 to 789 this year. In 2004, Seaford had 944 students and was the second-largest school in the South.

Woodbridge and Laurel both saw increases to identical enrollment figures of 53 students. Laurel increased from 520 in 2006, while Woodbridge increased from 462.