Two schools move up in classification, while two others get new rivals and a new region name.
Just some of the changes made by the Virginia High School League Wednesday as the Executive Committee approved the Realignment plan of the Alignment Committee for the 2015-2017 Cycle. This process is not a byproduct of the recently implemented 1A-6A Reclassification, now in its second year. The VHSL makes adjustments to divisions based on student enrollment changes every two years.
This time, however, the changes were more pronounced, more sweeping, and more well-publicized in response to the new system, which has been met with wide disapproval statewide, by schools, student-athletes, even some superintendents. In August, appeals were heard based on the original plan put forward in June by the Alignment Committee, with many schools complaining about added financial costs, loss of classroom instruction time, and loss of natural rivalries, due to the new system, designed to create a more equitable playoff system for all schools, having them play schools of similar size.
As for the changes and how they affect Chesterfield schools....
1) Clover Hill and Manchester move up to the 6A Classification, which is the largest, based again on student enrollment figures. The Cavaliers and Lancers will go to the 6A South Region and join Conference 3, which also is home to Thomas Dale, Cosby, and James River. The lone non-Chesterfield school in Conference 3 will be Franklin County, a current conference member. Both Varina and Patrick Henry-Roanoke are moving down in Classification to 5A.
2) Conference 12 in 5A South will have a slightly different look. Joining L.C. Bird, Matoaca, Meadowbrook and Prince George will be Eastern Henrico rivals Varina, down from 6A, and Highland Springs, moving over from Conference 11 because it had too many schools. The Committee was charged to put five to eight teams in all conferences for balance. Glen Allen and J.R. Tucker both moved up from 4A South to 5A South and were assigned to Conference 11, giving it nine schools until the Alignment Committee proposed, successfully, to shift Highland Springs. Potential matchups in future Conference 12 basketball tournaments involving L.C. Bird, Meadowbrook, and Highland Springs, for example, are very intriguing.
3) Midlothian and Monacan remain in Conference 20 in 4A, whose region name will change from "4A South" to "4A East" beginning next season. Classifications 1A to 4A will have "East" and "West" regions, 5A and 6A will continue with "North" and "South". The Trojans and Chiefs welcome new Conference members Huguenot (up from 3A) and Powhatan, coming from Conference 19, which will be completely new next year.
ADDED NOTE: Also approved by the Executive Committee, a move whereby State Football Semifinals could be played on the first Friday night in December rather than be mandated to play on that Saturday. The game would be on Friday only if both participating schools agree. This is an attempt to avoid conflicts with SAT testing and to use Saturday as a make-up date if inclement weather affects Friday.
NEW CONFERENCES EFFECTIVE AUGUST, 2015:
CONFERENCE 3 (6A South Region):
CONFERENCE 12 (5A South Region):
CONFERENCE 20 (4A East Region):