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Kelsi Wingo and the Barbers Hill volleyball team will face a different challenge when they battle in the new-look District 21-5A beginning in the fall. The Baytown schools are in the same, District 22-5A. (file photo)

With the Monday announcment of the new UIL realignment for the 2020-22 sports cycle comes plenty of challenges for local sports teams.

District 21-5A and 22-5A have  undergone massive facelifts and the biggest is of the three Baytown High Schools – Robert E. Lee, Ross S. Sterling and Goose Creek Memorial – all becoming members of the latter.

District 21 will consist of Barbers Hill, Crosby, Beaumont United, Galena Park, Nederland, Port Arthur Memorial and Port Neches-Groves while District 22 is composed of REL, RSS, GCM, Friendswood, Galveston Ball, La Porte, Manvel, Santa Fe and Texas City.

“We are excited for the addition of Sterling,” REL head coach Mary Grosjean said. “It’s been fun having GCM as our crosstown rival, so now we will have two Baytown teams to compete with and the girls always enjoy that. 

“As far as the other teams go, our district will be challenging but that’s how you get better and we are ready for the upcoming season.”

La Porte finished 26-15 and made the Class 6A playoffs. They move down from 21-6A with Sterling. 

Friendswood, (34-18), Texas City (31-16) and Galveston Ball (16-21) remain in District 22 with REL and GCM.

Friendswood is the defending district champions and made it all the way to the Class 5A semifinals before losing to Lovejoy.

“This is going to be another challenging district for GCM,” Lady Patriots head coach Casey Veen said. “Once again, we will be in one of the toughest districts in the state of volleyball. We are excited to be in such a competitive district, where every night will be a quality match up.

“I think it’s pretty cool to have all three GCCISD high schools in the same district as well. I know those games will be fun for the girls and the community.”

Suprise addition Manvel, moves over from District 24-5A and went 42-7 before losing in four sets to Friendswood. They should be an immediate threat to the title.

District 21 will be a bit more of a potpurri of teams as some from District 22 move over – namely Crosby, which went 26-13 last fall and just missed out on the postseason after dropping a play-in match against GCM – and Galena Park who went 4-28 last year.

Beaumont United (14-28) moves down from 21-6A, while Nderland (16-16), PN-G (13-20) return to District 21 after both made the bi-district round of the playoffs. Port Arthur-Memorial, which won only four matches last year is also back in the district.

“I wish we could have matched up with Baytown schools,” Barbers Hill head coach Kristin Goodman said. “I really thought we would be with them and La Porte.

“We will miss playing Dayton – there is a long-standing rivalry between us and the ‘purple school.’ They are always a great team to play.”

Barbers Hill went undefeated in District 21-5A to capture the crown at 12-0 and advanced to the area round before finishing the campaign at 24-22 overall.

“I believe we will finish as district champs again,” Goodman said. “I think adding Crosby will make it more competitive but I think we will have to really stay focused during district play in order to prepare for playoffs.”

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