LINCOLN, Neb. — After eight years in Class A, Lincoln Pius X High School will move back to Class B, ending its membership in the Heartland Athletic Conference.

In a letter sent to parents, Chief Administrative Officer Tom Korta said the decision to compete in Class B is consistent with the school’s enrollment. That decision means the Thunderbolts must leave the HAC, which only allows Class A schools.

The Nebraska School Activities Association places schools with an enrollment of at least 850 in grades 9-11 in Class A. Pius X opted up to Class A in the past two-year cycle despite having a Class B enrollment. Korta says Pius X will have an enrollment of 792 students in grades 9-11 next year and trends in the K-8 schools suggest that Pius X will remain below the Class A threshold for the foreseeable future.

“The end goal has always been about what is best for our kids, and in the final analysis we think this is what is best for our students,” Korta said in the letter.

Pius X started competing in Class A in the 2015-16 academic year after historically competing in Class B. The Thunderbolts officially joined the HAC in fall 2018. The letter didn’t specify if the school would try to gain entry into a non-Class A conference. It did say the school views being in a conference as beneficial and that the school expects to face challenges in creating full varsity schedules because of the changes.

The Eastern Midlands and Trailblazer conferences both include Class B schools in eastern Nebraska and could be landing spots for Pius X.

With the Thunderbolts’ departure after this school year, the HAC is down to 11 schools.