~ PVN staff report
WOODSTOCK — The Virginia High School League recently approved a request by Central High School to drop down from Class 3 to Class 2 next year, and they will decide on Sept. 23 if the Falcons will also return to the Bull Run District where they competed in 2018-19.
The VHSL’s alignment committee voted unanimously, 22-0, on July 29 to approve the Shenandoah County school’s appeal for reclassification filed in early July. Central moved up from 2A to 3A just last year.
Attendance numbers had dropped enough since the last realignment two years ago to allow for an appeal. On March 31, there were 728 students enrolled at CHS. That fell below the 769 threshold for requesting reclassification in Class 2. Central officials also expressed an interest in competing with schools closer to home.
The VHSL changed the alignment cycles for state high schools from every two years to every four years at the start of the current cycle; however, realignment appeals are allowed mid-cycle for schools that have seen a significant change in enrollment.
Central is currently a member of Class 3, Region 3B and the Northwestern District. In addition to its appeal for reclassification by VHSL, the state’s governing body for high school competition is now reviewing a separate request from Central to return to the Bull Run District.
The Falcons competed in the Bull Run from the fall of 2011 through the 2018-19 school year. Returning to the district means added emphasis for the Falcons in games against county rivals Strasburg and the school formerly known as Stonewall Jackson. It also means returning to district competition with Luray and Page County high schools.
A recent vote cast among the eight members of the Bull Run showed unanimous support to allow Central back into the district. The vote of approval will be taken into consider by the VHSL alignment committee when the mid-cycle alignment plan is finalized on Sept. 23. Those adjustments will remain in place for two years through the end of the current four-year alignment cycle that runs through spring 2023.
The VHSL realignment committee denied a request by Buffalo Gap to drop from 2A to 1A by a vote of 3-19.
A request by Culpeper County was narrowly approved, 12-11, to move from 4A down to 3A, and from Region 4C and the Northwestern District to Region 3B and the Battlefield District. The move back to the Battlefield, where the Blue Devils previously competed, was approved by a vote of 14 to 8.
All reclassifications and district realignments approved by VHSL on Sept. 23 will go into affect for the 2021-22 school year.