Thursday, December 8, 2011

Will Corinth Holders High join the Big East?

By Geoff Neville, Nashville Graphic

Judging by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s latest findings, the Class 3-A Big East Conference will be around in its current at least through 2017.

That’s what the league member schools want -- and those plans should be finalized next spring by the NCHSAA.

Last week, the NCHSAA released its first preliminary conference makeup for its next realignment, which will begin in the fall of 2013 and run for four years.

The Big East’s current roster of Northern Nash, Nash Central, Southern Nash, Rocky Mount, Wilson Fike and Wilson Hunt will remain intact.

The only change will come with the prospective addition of Corinth Holders, a second-year school in Johnston County (just monutes from the Carolina Mudcats’ Five County Stadium).

Corinth Holders is now a member of the Class 2-A Northern Carolina Conference, but the school features only freshman through junior classes.

When CH boasts a four-year class for the first time next fall, it will boost the Pirates’ enrollment into Class 3-A -- and a potential grouping with the Big East schools.

The first rough draft of the NCHSAA’s was done by computer by SAS. Georgraphy, as always, played the most important decision in the formula.

The NCHSAA has also stated a desire to move away from split-classification conferences if possible.

School athletic directors and administrators will be allowed to air their grievance with possible conference alignments during regional meetings in January.

The NCHSAA will take the questions into consideration before releasing its final update later in the spring.
Northern Nash Athletic Director Dan Richwalski anticipates that none of the Nash County squads will argue against the initial alliance.

“I think this is pretty much what everybody wants,’’ Richwalski said. “Except for Corinth-Holders, the conference is going to stay the same. We’re pretty happy about that -- we don’t anticipate that the travel to Corinth-Holders is going to be a big problem for anyone.’’

Said Southern Nash AD Robbie Kennedy: “We’re fine with it. It would help us out with scheduling, because we would have one less non-conference date to fill. I have no issue with seven teams.’’

However, that scenario -- because of an odd number -- would mean that one team would have a bye from conference play during the league portion of the football schedule. 

Another potential problem is that Cleveland, another Johnston County school, had its numbers incorrectly recorded during the SAS program.

Cleveland High School was projected as a Class 2-A school, but will actually compete on the 3-A level. How this affects Corinth Holders’ standing -- as another Johnston school -- isn’t known.

Cleveland could also end up in the Big East -- or Corinth Holders may be moved away from the league to be in a league with Cleveland.

Two other Johnston County schools -- Smithfield-Selma and South Johnston -- are proposed to be in another different Class 3-A league.

This is a computer draft that was done strictly by geography,’’ said Corinth Holders AD Brent Walston. “We felt like we might be placed with the Wilson and Nash schools, based on where we are located.

“It’s closer for us to go to Nash County than South Johnston or Erwin Triton. And I think we would have some good rivalries with those schools -- our district borders Wilson Hunt and Southern Nash.

“We are kind of split. Some of the Johnston County schools are in different classifications, but would it be in our best interest to have all of the county 3-A schools in there together?’’

Walston expects an updated rough draft to be released soon.

“We’ll see what the NCHSAA releases and then go from there,’’ Walston said. “It’s kind of wait and see right now.’’

Here is how the first proposal looks, along with the projected enrollment number from each school: 

NCHSAA Class 3-A Big East Conference  

Corinth Holders 1394
Wilson Hunt 1317
Southern Nash 1261                                                                                             

Nash Central 1232
Northern Nash 1214
Rocky Mount 1153                                                                                             

Wilson Fike 1140

Here are the distances to Corinth Holders from each current Big East Conference member:

• 22 miles from Southern Nash
• 25 miles from Wilson Hunt
• 33 miles from Wilson Fike
• 39 miles from Northern Nash
• 40 miles from Nash Central
• 44 miles from Rocky Mount

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