By BEN JOHNSON
Those even remotely concerned about Tahlequah moving up to Class 6A let out a sigh of relief on Thursday afternoon.
The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association released average daily membership numbers, and Tahlequah saw a slight drop with the 2013-2014 school year looming. Tahlequah went from 1,160.19 last school year to 1,154 for this upcoming year, meaning the largest school in Cherokee County will remain in Class 5A.
Average daily membership helps determine the amount of students at each school, which then allows the OSSAA to break schools down into proper classes. The numbers on the ADM list will not become official until they are approved at the OSSAA board meeting on Aug. 14.
With the new ADM numbers, Tahlequah remains solidly in the 37th spot on the overall list. Tahlequah, with four schools (Del City, Shawnee, Hale, Edison) between it and Class 6A, is 20 behind Edison (1,174) and eight ahead of Deer Creek (1,146.18).
Tahlequah will be affected when the new football districts are announced for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons. The Tigers will lose Claremore, who is now the smallest 6A school in the 32nd overall spot. The Zebras essentially took Hale’s spot, which fell from 29th overall to 35th.
In Class 3A, Sequoyah saw an increase in ADM, going from 343 last year to 359.18 (plus-16) this year. Sequoyah also went from 144th overall to one of the larger 3A schools at 134th now.
Keys went in the opposite direction. Sequoyah’s rival went from being one of the larger 3A schools toward the back of the pack in 3A. Keys declined by 23.6 with this year’s ADM of 331.48, down from 355.08 last year.
Tahlequah, Sequoyah and Keys officials were unavailable for comment on the school’s attendance.
Hulbert got a bump in enrollment, moving up the ADM list from 219th last year to 214th currently. Hulbert’s ADM went up 13 points and eclipsed the 200 mark, going from 190.70 to 203.80.
“We knew we had a pretty good sized freshman class, and they are now going to be sophomores,” Hulbert athletic director Rick Ott said. “Also, we have another big freshmen class coming in.”
Hulbert will continue to compete in Class 2A in virtually every sport.
“Basketball-wise, I can’t remember (Hulbert) ever not being in 2A or 3A,” Ott said. “In football, it would be better in Class A, but we’ll still compete in 2A. Now I’m not sure if we’ll ever go back down.
“There’s nothing you can do about it, just have to stay hooked up and go after it.”
Area schools such as Muskogee, Fort Gibson and Wagoner saw minimal change between last year’s numbers. Stilwell, though, saw a dramatic increase, boosting enrollment by close to 59 students. The Adair County school went from 600.90 last year to 659.57 this year, while also going from the 10th largest 4A school to the second largest (slightly behind Miami, who turned in an ADM nine points higher than Stilwell).