01/22/08 — Realignment proposals submitted

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Realignment proposals submitted

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 22, 2008 1:48 PM

Athletics directors and school administrators from eastern North Carolina high schools met at East Carolina University this morning to discuss the realignment draft proposal devised by the N.C. High School Athletic Association.

The realignment committee will listen to concerns regarding the preliminary plan distributed to member schools in mid-December. Officials affiliated with the Wayne County Public Schools are expected to address the committee on the placement of Goldsboro High in the Carolina 1-A Conference.

While the average daily membership (ADM) numbers dictate the move, WCPS Athletics Director Dean Sauls says dropping Goldsboro to 1-A is not a wise decision. With the rising enrollment in the school of engineering on campus, the school should remain an Eastern Plains 2-A member.

Sauls contends that within the next four years, Goldsboro could have enough students to regain 3-A status. He said to avoid appealing two years down the road to move up a classification, why not "forego the process and leave them there?"

Should the realignment committee heed Sauls' warning, it could also affect North Johnston. The latest ADMs revealed North Johnston is the state's smallest 2-A school. And rather than move into the tradition-rich EPC, school officials have expressed their desire to re-establish ties with former Capital Area foes Louisburg, Bunn and Franklinton.

Wait ... there's more.

The EPC and Eastern Carolina Conference will also undergo significant changes involving schools in the News-Argus coverage area. SouthWest Edgecombe and current ECC member Wilson Beddingfield will return to the EPC, while North Lenoir will merge into the ECC.

Kinston, which surprisingly dropped to 2-A, and Wilson Hunt are departing from the ECC. Hunt will re-join forces with county rival Fike and replace SouthWest Edgecombe in the NEW 6 Athletic Conference.

At least, that's how committee drew the proposal.

The new ECC includes Eastern Wayne, Southern Wayne, Charles B. Aycock, North Lenoir, South Johnston and Triton. However, Triton officials have expressed their desire to remain where they are.

"There has been some discussion of trying to keep Hunt and bring Fike in, but we're not sure how that will out," said Robert Peele, Eastern Wayne athletics director. "We all play Fike (non-conference) and it would be a pretty good fit. South Johnston seems to not mind that kind of scenario, but I guess today will tell the tale of how set in stone it is.

"I am sure there are a lot of proposals out there now."

Schools currently in split-classification leagues are asking to move, particularly Hertford County, which competes in the Northeastern Albemarle 2-A/3-A Conference. Charles Simmons, long-time athletics director, would like to see the committee place Hertford in the NEW 6 Conference.

But where does fellow member Currituck, also 3-A, go?

And questions still remain involving the Wilmington-area schools currently aligned with West Brunswick and Jacksonville. One proposal suggests Greenville Rose and New Bern should join the four Wilmington schools.

"It's going to be interesting," said Peele.