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GHSA approves Class AAAAA realignment

County A.D. says reconstruction of regions keeps natural rivalries intact

McDONOUGH — The Georgia High School Association agreed to accept a proposal that will redistribute schools in Class AAAAA in order to prevent a 17 school super region.

The plan to break up the crowded Region 6, which included mostly schools from Henry, Clayton and DeKalb counties was approved by the GHSA’s reclassification meeting on Tuesday, a week after Ola High athletic director Curt Miller, Clayton County athletic director Kevin May and DeKalb County athletic director Horace Dunson met with GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin in Thomaston to present a realignment plan.

The plan called for a redistricting of schools out of Region 6 into regions 4-7 in such a way where schools — primarily in the aforementioned three-county area — would be able to compete near each other and ensure that no school would have to compete in a region larger than 13 teams.

Miller said he was ecstatic about the way it all panned out.

“When we went down last week to meet with Dr. Swearngin, I presented a plan to him, and not only did he listen to the plan, but he and the committee accepted it verbatim,” Miller said. “It’s pretty cool to have Dr. Swearngin take time out to meet with you, but it’s even better when they use what you propose.”

Clayton County athletic director Kevin May echoed Miller’s sentiments.

“We are very pleased with the plan,” May said. “We avoid having our teams in a 17-team super region. We are playing similar teams that we have been playing the last two years. We weren’t trying to sway the region in one direction or the other, but we are happy with the region.”

The restructured plan puts Henry, Clayton and Fayette county schools together in a 13-team Region 4, while placing mostly Dekalb and Fulton county schools together in a 13-team Region 6.

Both regions will be divided into subregions, with Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A carrying Northgate, McIntosh, Starr’s Mill, Morrow, Mundy’s Mill, Drew and Forest Park. Div. B will contain Woodland, Ola, Union Grove, Dutchtown, Stockbridge and Luella.

Woodland, Dutchtown and Stockbridge are moving up from Class AAAA, while Luella steps down a notch from its Class AAAAAA home.

Miller said he, and pretty much every other county and school athletic director he’s spoken with is excited about the arrangement. Both he and May said the number one concern from the previously proposed set up was transportation and financial burdens being placed on the shoulders of local schools.

“All of our athletic directors are relieved from a logistical standpoint,” May said. “It would have been difficult having a 17-team region track meet or region basketball tournament. Having 13 teams is difficult, but it is manageable.”

But Miller said the benefits of the new plan go far beyond just those two areas.

“All Henry schools are in the same region together, so that’s going to create some built-in rivalries and bring more people out to games,” he said. “We’ve already been playing those schools from Clayton and Fayette, and we’ve got some good rivalries in softball and baseball that can continue to be preserved.”

The reclassification committee will now meet twice more — once on Jan. 7 in Thomaston to hear all appeals for lateral transfers for all classifications, and then on Jan. 14 in Macon to ratify the final reclassification plan.