According to the new guidelines, which will be in effect for the next two seasons -- beginning with the 2013-14 school year — Class AAA stalwarts St. Pius X and Woodward will move up to AAAA, while AA powerhouse Westminster advances to AAA and Class A schools Holy Innocents’ and Pace bump up to AA.
Some area schools are scheduled to remain in their current classifications, with Riverwood, North Springs and North Atlanta staying in AAAAA, Lovett in AA and Atlanta International, Galloway and Mount Vernon Presbyterian in A.
The class assignments are made according to the enrollment numbers of each school.
The GHSA will announce the new region assignments for the next two years Dec. 3. Schools will be given a chance to appeal their region assignments, with the finalized lineup to be released Jan. 14.
Class AAAA is nothing new to either St. Pius or Woodward, who were both members of that classification from 2000-08 before moving down to AAA.
Both schools rank low in terms of enrollment numbers among the 70 projected AAAA members, with St. Pius ranked 60th with 1,128 and Woodward 67th with 1,103.
It will be a return to AAA for Westminster, which competed in the classification from 2000-08 prior to joining AA.
“I don’t know if it makes a big difference between AA and AAA,” Westminster athletic director Rusty Hudson said. “For us to move up, we will be playing schools that we’ve gotten along with well and enjoyed playing, so I’m assuming we’ll be in a metro Atlanta region with schools that we have had a relationship with in the past.”
Westminster is ranked 67th among the 70 projected AAAA schools in enrollment with 811.
Meanwhile, Holy Innocents’ and Pace will return to AA after a six-year absence, with both schools having been a part of that classification previously from 2000-08.
While Pace would be the smallest school in AA with an enrollment of 438, athletic director Kris Palmerton said the school is looking forward to the challenge of competing in a higher classification.
“We’re certainly excited,” Palmerton said. “There’s a lot of schools that we certainly competed against before when we were AA and we continue to compete against – Lovett, Wesleyan, GAC. Holy Innocents’ will be moving up with us as well, so there’s a lot of rivalries from days gone by. GAC was Class A and that will certainly be renewed.
“At the same time, there’s a big number discrepancy from the top of AA as a whole. But last time we were in AA, it really helped raise our bar and where we were athletically and I think it will do the same this time.”