01/24/08 — Realignment - Athletics directors voice their opinions

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Realignment - Athletics directors voice their opinions

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 24, 2008 3:33 PM

GREENVILLE -- While Goldsboro argued its position to the realignment committee on Tuesday, other school officials voiced their opinions -- positive and negative -- with the initial draft proposal.

Athletics directors from eastern North Carolina schools presented their viewpoints based on a number of criteria -- geography, natural rivalries, rising cost of fuel and missed class time. Those factors received attention from the N.C. High School Athletic Association officials, who stated they realigned schools based mainly on geography.

That decision caused ripples from north of the Triangle area to the southeastern part of the state in three classifications.

Locally, Wayne County athletics directors proposed keeping their relationships with Wilson Hunt and adding Wilson Fike to the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference. Neither school opposed Wayne County's plan.

However, Wilson County administration officials quickly vetoed the idea. They argued that keeping Fike and merging Hunt with the Nash-Rocky Mount Schools would also keep their middle school conference intact.

Nash-Rocky Mount Schools officials agreed.

"While we appreciate Wayne County's proposal, ever since I can remember, the Wilson-Nash-Rocky Mount schools have always been natural rivals," said Wayne Doll, a Nash-Rocky Mount Schools representative. "It is a good situation for us to keep the Wilson County schools with us, so we're not in support with that proposal."

Rick Strunk, associate executive director with the NCHSAA, said that more than 60 letters have been submitted to the realignment committee. Counter proposals offered Tuesday are not a done deal, but will be addressed when the committee meets next week to compose its second draft.

The group is comprised of five superintendents each from eastern and western North Carolina, and a mix of other administrators. Wayne County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor is the Region 2 representative on the committee.

Strunk contends that combination conferences will continue to be prevalent. He added that once the realignment period ends in 2013, the NCHSAA is looking at adding a fifth classification.

Here are the proposed 3-A conferences:

* Eastern Carolina 3-A -- Charles B. Aycock, Eastern Wayne, North Lenoir, Southern Wayne, South Johnston and Triton. Dropping out -- Kinston and Wilson Beddingfield.

* NEW 6 Athletic 3-A -- Fike, Hunt, Nash Central, Northern Nash, Rocky Mount and Southern Nash. Dropping out -- SouthWest Edgecombe.

* Coastal 3-A -- D.H. Conley, Havelock, South Central, Washington, West Carteret and West Craven. Dropping out -- Greenville Rose and New Bern.

Final appeals must be submitted by April and will be reviewed by the NCHSAA Board of Directors. The Board will finalize the schools' alignment in May.