Belgrade moving up to Class AA in 2019

Belgrade quarterback Max Schumacher calls for a snap against Havre on Sept. 15, 2017.

The Montana High School Association Executive Board approved Belgrade High School’s move from Class A to Class AA.

The Panthers will move up before the 2019-20 academic year, and will tentatively join the Eastern Division of Class AA. That is the same division that Bozeman High School and Butte High school currently compete in, along with Billings Senior High School, Billings West High School, Billings Skyview High School, Great Falls High School, and C.M. Russell High School.

Belgrade High School Activities Director Rick Phillips says the move has been in the works for about 13 years, and he is relieved that the move is now official.

Phillips says the move will greatly reduce travel costs, especially when Bozeman opens its second high school.

"Being able to have two games locally, within 10 to 15 miles, it's huge,” Phillips said. “Right now, where we are traveling to Havre, Miles City, Sidney, and Glendive. I think the travel will be the biggest aspect of relief for us, is not having the length of travel we've been having in the past."

As a result of the move to Class AA Belgrade High School will become the first to compete in all four of Montana’s classifications. The Panthers are currently competing in Class A, and have competed in Class B and Class C in the past.

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