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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

THE FUTURE: VHSL Approves Region Alignment for 2023--2027

After weeks of proposals, objections, and meetings, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Executive Committee has officially approved the region alignment for its six classifications for the period from July, 2023 to June, 2027.

Please note that the League does make some adjustments to the alignment at the midway point (the summer of 2025) to account for changes in school enrollments, the opening of new schools, consolidation of current schools, etc. 

In this piece, we will discuss each region that has a Metro RVA team, how it has changed, and a little information on schools that will be new to our area once postseason play begins.

New teams will be both bold and italicized. All Metro RVA teams will be in bold only unless they have moved regions, then they will be both as well.


CLASS 6, REGION A: (11 Teams)

Cosby, Deep Run, Glen Allen, Grassfield, Highland Springs, Landstown, Manchester, Meadowbrook, Oscar Smith, Thomas Dale, Western Branch

ANALYSIS: Franklin County, Floyd Kellam and Ocean Lakes all leave the region, as does James River, who, for the first time since the Great Reclassification of 2013, will not be in Class 6. Football fans immediately gravitate, and salivate, at the thought of region championship games between Highland Springs and Oscar Smith. But there's much more to be considered here. For Deep Run and Glen Allen, especially for spring sports, they'll need to get to know a lot of Northern Virginia schools, all of whom populate the other three regions in Class 6. The same goes for field hockey in the fall. As for basketball, bringing in the Springers, Jaguars and Wildcats to join Manchester and Thomas Dale will make region tournaments very interesting. Meadowbrook is really the program behind the eight-ball here. Their road to getting back to deep playoff runs across the board will be even tougher.

CLASS 5, REGION C: (15 Teams)

Albemarle, Clover Hill, Douglas Freeman, Franklin County, Hermitage, J.R. Tucker, James River, L.C. Bird, Louisa, Matoaca, Midlothian, Mills Godwin, Patrick Henry-Roanoke, Prince George, William Fleming

ANALYSIS: The region, by far, has the biggest changes, even with three Henrico powerhouses headed to Class 6. A twelve-team region grows to fifteen as Deep Run, Glen Allen, Highland Springs and Meadowbrook depart, Matoaca returns to Class 5 after two seasons in Class 4 (and petitioning the VHSL to move up) and James River comes down from Class 6. This region will also no longer be exclusive to Richmond area teams, as Albemarle enters from the Charlottesville area, while Franklin County of Rocky Mount, Louisa, Patrick Henry-Roanoke and William Fleming all enter.

Logistically, this region just became a nightmare. But, to the VHSL's defense, it would be even more of a burden for the western schools to join any other region in Class 5, having either to go to Tidewater or Northern Virginia. It's also now the largest region in Class 5 with 15 teams (Class 5, Region A is next with 14, Region D only has 9).

Franklin County was a longtime member of Class 6, sharing both a region, and a conference back in their four-year tenure, with the likes of Cosby, Thomas Dale and James River. They're used to coming east for playoff action. So is Patrick Henry-Roanoke, who briefly played in the old Conference 16, which included Albemarle, Atlee, and our Patrick Henry (Ashland). Louisa, of course, plays some area schools in sports already and, geographically, is just a little further out than, say, Amelia, Powhatan, or Caroline. The Lions will automatically become a force in football in the region.

The unknown is William Fleming, the other Roanoke City high school (with PH-Roanoke). The Colonels have not made the football postseason since 2014, and are currently 1-4 this season. Boys basketball last won a state title in 2007.

CLASS 4, REGION B: (17 Teams)

Atlee, Caroline, Chancellor, Courtland, Dinwiddie, Eastern View, George Wythe, Hanover, Henrico, Huguenot, King George, Mechanicsville, Monacan, Patrick Henry (Ashland), Powhatan, Spotsylvania, Varina

ANALYSIS: Interestingly enough, there is little change to the area's biggest region. Matoaca requested, and received, a move back up to Class 5, Region C. Caroline, who requested and received a move down from Region 4B to Class 3, Region B asked for that again, but this time were denied. The Cavaliers replace the Warriors, while the other sixteen teams remain the same including all four Hanover County schools.

CLASS 3, REGION A: (13 Teams)

Booker T. Washington, Colonial Heights, Grafton, Heritage (Newport News), Hopewell, I.C. Norcom, Lafayette, Lakeland, Lake Taylor, New Kent, Petersburg, Tabb, York

ANALYSIS: This region goes down from the current fourteen-team configuration. Leaving are Phoebus (Class 4), Southampton (Class 2) and Park View-South Hill, closed along with Bluestone to create the new Mecklenburg County High School. Eleven holdovers are joined by Grafton, a Bay Rivers District rival of New Kent, and Heritage, both moving down from Class 4.

CLASS 3, REGION B: (14 Teams)

Armstrong, Brentsville District, Culpeper, Fauquier, Goochland, Kettle Run, James Monroe, Maggie Walker GS, Manassas Park, Meridian, Skyline, Thomas Jefferson, Warren County, William Monroe

ANALYSIS: This region moves up from twelve to fourteen schools, led by Thomas Jefferson's move up from Class 2, Region A. Fauquier and Kettle Run each move down from Class 4. Armstrong and Goochland stay put. If Manassas Park resumes football in 2023, 13 teams will compete in that sport, all but Maggie Walker.

CLASS 2, REGION A: (14 Teams)

Amelia, Arcadia, Bruton, Central-Lunenburg, Greensville County, John Marshall, King William, Nandua, Nottoway, Poquoson, Prince Edward, Randolph-Henry, Southampton, Windsor

ANALYSIS: Bluestone is gone, closed to consolidate in Mecklenburg County, while Brunswick moves down to Class 1, and the Vikings of Thomas Jefferson are replaced by Southampton, TJ from Class 2 to 3, and Southampton in the opposite direction. Central-Lunenburg enters via moving up from Class 1, Region B.

CLASS 1, REGION A: (13 Teams)

Charles City, Chincoteague, Colonial Beach, Essex, King & Queen Central, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northampton, Northumberland, Rappahannock, Westmoreland, West Point

ANALYSIS: The only change is a name, as Westmoreland replaces Washington & Lee as the county's high school name. That took effect this season.

CLASS 1, REGION B: (12 Teams)

Altavista, Appomattox Regional GS, Brunswick, Buffalo Gap, Carver College & Career Academy, Cumberland, Franklin, Galileo, Rappahannock County, Surry, Sussex, William Campbell

ANALYSIS: Minor changes here, with one major exception. Class 1 football power Riverheads is heading to Class 2, Region B. Central-Lunenburg leaves, switching places with Brunswick, who comes down to Class 1.

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