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Sunday, July 30, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: The New VHSL Configuration

Here we go again.

Four years removed from the largest reclassification effort that the Virginia High School League (VHSL) had undertaken in over forty years, the league is making major adjustments to classifications, regions, the postseason structure and more.

As the 2017-18 high school season officially begins in full this week with all fall sports teams reporting for practices and tryouts, now is a good time to let you know what you can expect as a player and as a fan of your school, or alma mater, as sports get underway.

We will list the new Classes and Regions within the RVA Sports Network coverage area at the end of the article. First, let's review the major changes that are now in effect:

1) No Conferences, Just Regions: The four-year experiment of having "conferences" replace the formerly used "districts" for playoff purposes at the most "local" level have been eliminated. So no more Conference 3, Conference 11, etc. In theory, the conferences "replaced" the districts in the major reclassification effort of 2013, but, in reality, the districts never fully resolved, in that schools have continued to use districts for the basis of the bulk of all regular season sport schedules, and will continue to do so into the future. In case you are not familiar with your district, these are the four major districts that encompass most of the Metro Richmond area:

CAPITAL: Atlee, Armstrong, Hanover, Henrico, Highland Springs, Lee-Davis, Patrick Henry and Varina.
CENTRAL: Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Hopewell, Matoaca, Meadowbrook, Petersburg, Prince George, Thomas Dale
COLONIAL: Deep Run, Douglas Freeman, Glen Allen, Hermitage, J.R. Tucker, John Marshall, Mills Godwin, Thomas Jefferson, Maggie Walker Governors School
DOMINION: Clover Hill, Cosby, George Wythe, Huguenot, James River, L.C. Bird, Manchester, Midlothian, Monacan

When school begins September 5th, no classes in high school will have played sports under the old "Central Region" format; they've only known the Conference/Region/State model. Now, with conferences dissolved, sports will begin immediately at the region level, as football has done in the past.

2) Regions And Their Tournaments: Here's the murky part, currently. The VHSL has yet to officially announce all Region Tournament formats in most sports. For example, we still don't know how field hockey, volleyball, and competition cheer will work at the first level of the postseason (regionals) this fall. How many teams will qualify? Different regions have different numbers of teams (as you will see below).

We do know football doesn't change. The top eight teams will advance to the postseason in each region.

We do know that each classification now has four regions instead of two. When it comes to later rounds of the playoffs (State Quarterfinals and Semifinals), regions will be paired on a rotational basis. This year, the rotation places Region "A" and Region "B" together in one half of the bracket, Regions "C" and "D" in the other. As you'll see shortly, it means little change in football, but some changes elsewhere.

3) "Classes", Not "Groups", And "Goodbye 'A'": There are still six classifications, so six state champions crowned in various sports (save the few that aren't played statewide like boys volleyball and lacrosse). But they are no longer called "groups", so, "Group 6A", "Group 5A", etc, are dead.

The new names are "Class 6", "Class 5", "Class 4", "Class 3", "Class 2" and "Class 1". Each class has four regions named A, B, C and D respectively. So, for example, no more "5A South Region Champion", it will be the "Class 5, Region B Champion". These are simply semantics, but information everyone needs to know.

4) The Region Set Up: Below, you can find your team in their new region. The only school in Metropolitan Richmond that moved classification was Patrick Henry, going down from Class 5 to Class 4 (your Class is based on school enrollment, and they are updated every two years in odd-numbered years).

CLASS 6:

REGION A (12 Teams): Bayside, Frank Cox, First Colonial, Granby, Grassfield, Floyd Kellam, Landstown, Ocean Lakes, Oscar Smith, Tallwood, Western Branch, Woodside

REGION B (8 Teams): Clover Hill, Colonial Forge, Cosby, Thomas Dale, Franklin County, James River, Manchester, Riverbend

REGION C (18 Teams): Annandale, Charles Colgan, Fairfax, Forest Park, Freedom-PW, Gar-Field, Hayfield, CD Hylton, Lake Braddock, Mount Vernon, Robinson, South County, JEB Stuart, West Potomac, West Springfield, TC Williams, Woodbridge, WT Woodson

REGION D (17 Teams): Battlefield, Centreville, Chantilly, Herndon, Stonewall Jackson-PW, Langley, James Madison, George Marshall, McLean, Oakton, Osbourn, Osbourn Park, Patriot, South Lakes, Washington & Lee, Westfield, Yorktown

CLASS 5:

REGION A (15 Teams): Bethel, Gloucester, Green Run, Hampton, Hickory, Indian River, Kecoughtan, Kempsville, Maury, Menchville, Nansemond River, Norview, Princess Anne, Salem, Warwick

REGION B (15 Teams): Atlee, L.C. Bird, Deep Run, Douglas Freeman, Glen Allen, Mills Godwin, Henrico, Hermitage, Highland Springs, Lee-Davis, Matoaca, Meadowbrook, Prince George, J.R. Tucker, Varina

REGION C (13 Teams): Briar Woods, Broad Run, John Champe, Thomas Edison, Falls Church, Freedom-LC, Thomas Jefferson S&T, RE Lee-SP, Potomac Falls, Rock Ridge, Stone Bridge, Tuscarora, Wakefield

REGION D (12 Teams): Albemarle, Brooke Point, William Fleming, Halifax, Harrisonburg, Patrick Henry-Roanoke, Massaponax, Mountain View, North Stafford, Orange, Potomac, Stafford

CLASS 4:

REGION A (13 Teams): Churchland, Deep Creek, Denbigh, Grafton, Great Bridge, Heritage-Newport News, Jamestown, King's Fork, Lafayette, Lake Taylor, Smithfield, Warhill, Woodrow Wilson

REGION B (13 Teams): Caroline, Chancellor, Courtland, Dinwiddie, Eastern View, Hanover, Patrick Henry (Ashland), Huguenot, King George, Louisa, Midlothian, Monacan, Powhatan

REGION C (14 Teams): Dominion, Fauquier, John Handley, Heritage (Leesburg), Kettle Run, Liberty-Bealeton, Loudoun County, Loudoun Valley, Millbrook, Park View-ST, Riverside, Sherando, James Wood, Woodgrove

REGION D (12 Teams): Amherst, Bassett, Blacksburg, William Byrd, Carroll County, Charlottesville, EC Glass, Jefferson Forest, Liberty Christian, Pulaski, Salem, George Washington-Danville

CLASS 3:

REGION A (12 Teams): Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Lakeland, New Kent, IC Norcom, Park View-South Hill, Petersburg, Phoebus, Southampton, Tabb, Booker T Washington, York

REGION B (12 Teams): Armstrong, Brentsville District, Culpeper, Thomas Jefferson, Manassas Park, John Marshall, James Monroe, William Monroe, Skyline, Spotsylvania, Warren County, George Wythe

REGION C (13 Teams): Broadway, Brookville, Fluvanna, Fort Defiance, Heritage (Lynchburg), Liberty (Bedford), Monticello, Rockbridge County, Rustburg, Spotswood, Turner Ashby, Waynesboro, Western Albemarle

REGION D (11 Teams): Abingdon, Alleghany, Cave Spring, Christiansburg, Hidden Valley, Lord Botetourt, Magna Vista, Northside, Patrick County, Staunton River, Tunstall

CLASS 2:

REGION A (14 Teams): Amelia, Arcadia, Bluestone, Bruton, Brunswick, Goochland, Greensville, King William, Nandua, Nottoway, Poquoson, Prince Edward, Randolph-Henry, Maggie Walker GS

REGION B (12 Teams): Buffalo Gap, Central-Woodstock, Clarke County, East Rockingham, RE Lee-Staunton, Luray, Madison County, George Mason, Page County, Strasburg, Stuarts Draft, Wilson Memorial

REGION C (13 Teams): Appomattox, Buckingham, Chatham, Dan River, Floyd County, Fort Chiswell, Giles, Glenvar, Gretna, James River-Buchanan, Nelson County, Martinsville, Radford

REGION D (13 Teams): John Battle, Central-Wise, Gate City, Graham, Grayson, Lebanon, Lee, Marion, Richlands, Ridgeview, Tazewell, Union, Virginia

CLASS 1:

REGION A (17 Teams): Colonial Beach, Charles City, Chincoteague, Essex, Franklin, King & Queen, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northampton, Northumberland, Rappahannock, Surry, Sussex, Washington & Lee, West Point, Windsor

REGION B (10 Teams): Altavista, Appomattox Regional GS, William Campbell, Carver College & Career Academy, Central-Lunenburg, Cumberland, Galileo, Stonewall Jackson (Q), Rappahannock County, Riverheads

REGION C (12 Teams): Auburn, Bath County, Bland County, Covington, Craig County, Eastern Montgomery, Galax, Highland County, Parry McCluer, Narrows, Rural Retreat, George Wythe (W)

REGION D (15 Teams): J.I. Burton, Castlewood, Chilhowie, Council, Eastside, Grundy, Patrick Henry Glade Spring, Holston, Honaker, Hurley, Northwood, Rye Cove, Twin Springs, Twin Valley, Thomas Walker

NOTES:

1) The VHSL is scheduled to launch a new website on August 1st. We are hoping that, at that time, playoff formats for all fall sports will be available and we can better help everyone understand what to expect later this fall sports season and beyond. Golf is the first sport to be affected.

2) The State Quarterfinal round, which has already returned to basketball, but has not been seen outside football in other sports since the Spring of 2013, will return in most sports. Thus, on state championship week, teams can expect a quarterfinal early in the week (by Tuesday), and, with a win, will advance to the usual neutral site for state semifinals and championship games.

Have questions? Send them to robwitham1@gmail.com and we'll do our best to answer them. The road to a trophy is different. Again.





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