High School Sports

Realignment coming to high school athletics

All four Beaufort County high schools have avoided a major change under the 2010-12 realignment proposal recently submitted by the S.C. High School League, the governing body over high school sports in South Carolina.

Bluffton High School athletics director Dave Adams said Tuesday that his school will remain in Class 3-A after the realignment, which begins with fall sports in 2010 and lasts two school years. Battery Creek and Hilton Head Island high schools, along with Lake Marion, will stay in Region 8-AAA with the Bobcats, though the rest of the conference may see a change for 2010 and beyond.

Under the new proposal -- which won't be finalized until after high schools are allowed to make appeals-- current Region 8-AAA schools Stall and North Charleston will drop down to Class 2-A in one year, allowing Berkeley and Cane Bay high schools to fill their spots in the region. Berkeley is currently competing in Class 4-A, while Cane Bay played in Class 2-A in its first year of varsity sports last season.

Beaufort High School will again compete in Region 8-AAAA, athletics director Jerry Linn said Tuesday. The Eagles' region will make one switch -- Ashley Ridge is in line to replace West Ashley, which will move to Region 7-AAAA.

Ridgeland High School will drop to Class 1-A under the new plan, athletics director Jeremiah Faber said, where it will compete in Region 6-A alongside Hardeeville High School, Estill, Allendale Fairfax, Estill, and Whale Branch High School, which is set to open in 2010 in Beaufort. Baptist Hill will join the league for football only.

Each high school has the chance to appeal if it prefers to be placed in a different classification or region. Faber said Ridgeland doesn't plan to appeal its new position.

"We're comfortable with where they have us," Faber said. "That will suit us fine because it's good competition. I'm most excited because there's not a lot of travel. Geographically, it's a good fit."

Until all appeals are heard, the realignment proposal shouldn't be considered final, Roger Hazel said. Hazel is overseeing the project for the SCHSL.

"Hopefully before school starts we'll hear those appeals and make our final determinations," Hazel said.

The high schools are placed in their respective classifications based on their rankings in the 135-day average daily memberships (ADM), which were collected in May. Area high schools rank as follows in ADM: Beaufort High (28), Bluffton (54), Battery Creek (67) and Hilton Head High (79).