Playing the waiting game

Published 10:35 pm Friday, January 17, 2014

All four area public high schools are awaiting the ruling from the AHSAA next week. (Graphic/David Smith)

All four area public high schools are awaiting the ruling from the AHSAA next week. (Graphic/David Smith)

Area coaches anxiously await new AHSAA classifications

Coaches across the state of Alabama are playing the waiting game, and some are growing anxious.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association will release the reclassification figures for member schools on Wednesday Jan 22, much later than it has in years past. The usual release date is in November or December, but the AHSAA pushed the date back to have more time to look at the numbers.

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All four public high schools in the Troy area are paying close attention to the numbers, and anxiously awaiting the announcement.

Charles Henderson High School was the fourth biggest 4A school in the state under the most recent reclassification in 2012, but know school officials know they will likely climb back to 5A.

“We fully expect to be 5A when the announcement is made,” said Dr. Boyd English, CHHS principal, said. “Our numbers are up to where they were two years ago. We will find out to when the numbers come.”

Charles Henderson was staple of 5A athletics from 1984-2011, and is comfortable in the classification. Two of the Trojans’ biggest rivals, Greenville and Eufaula, are traditional powers at the 5A level.

“5A is where we want to be,” said English. “We are very excited to continue the success we have had at the 4A level. Our coaches and athletes do a great job, and will continue to do that at any classification we fall in to.”

Things are a little different in Brundidge as the Pike County Bulldogs are expecting to move anywhere. The Bulldogs were near the middle of the pack in terms of student enrollment, being the 46th biggest school in the classification.

Pike County football coach and athletic direction Fred Holland said that as long too many changes don’t happen in higher classifications, the Bulldogs should remain in 3A.

“We were too high, and weren’t too small when the last numbers came out,” Holland said. “Everyone has heard the rumors of making a new classification, but I don’t think we will be affected by that. We like where we are, but we may have some new region mates. I can’t worry with that. I’m busy with Pike County.”

The two 2A schools, Goshen and Zion Chapel, are sitting on pins and needles. The two schools were near the middle of the list, ranked 50th and 40th respectively, in the most recent classification figures; however, both schools have seen significant growth over the last few years.

Goshen athletic director Bart Snyder said he would like the schools teams to remain in 2A.

“We want to be 2A,” said Snyder. “We have been 2A for most of our existence. I know that when you look at the numbers, and then look at the playoffs, it is sometimes very hard to compete when you are one of the smaller schools in the classification. But it doesn’t matter where we wind up, we will still gear up and play.”

The Eagles, sans two-years stint in 3A in 1998-99 and in 1A from 2004-05, have been 2A since 1972.

Zion Chapel has seen its classification jump from middle of the road 1A to big 2A in recent years.

Rebels AD Bradley Bowers said the school is happy to be growing, but never expected it to grow as fast as it has.

“Our school board has done a fantastic job in keeping up with our growth in our education facilities,” said Bowers. “However, we are growing at such a rate that we are outgrown some our athletic facilities. It is a good problem to have. We should be pretty solid in 2A, but you never know for sure until the numbers come out.”

Because the release date has been pushed back so far, several coaches are anticipating big changes to the current structure. The most popular theory is the AHSAA is planning to add 7A classification, consisting of the some of the larger current 6A schools.

Also the AHSAA asked member schools to not schedule non-region games until the announcement is made.