After a lengthy reclassification process that saw the abolition of the private-public split in Class A, new classifications and region placements for local high schools for the next two years were finalized by the Georgia High School Association's reclassification committee on Wednesday.
With appeals processes completed, the new placements will be presented to the GHSA's executive committee at a meeting next month for the final stamp of approval.
After region placements were originally set last month, the GHSA needed to make changes again after some smaller private schools decided to leave the association. That led to the split between public and private schools being replaced with two divisions based on size. Some former members of Class A Private were then placed in the two Class A divisions or Class 2A or 3A. Christian Heritage School was placed in Class A-D2, while The Dalton Academy is in Class A-D1.
Once that decision was made, the GHSA then heard appeals on classification placement. Murray County and North Murray moved down from 3A to 2A during that process.
The GHSA heard appeals for lateral movements within regions at Wednesday's meeting before the new placements were finalized.
The recent developments didn't affect classification placements for schools in Class 4A and above.
Dalton High School, which had competed in Class 6A, is set to move down to Class 5A. The Catamounts will be in a six-team Region 7-5A. They'll compete against Calhoun, Cartersville, Cass, Hiram and Woodland. The new region will see travel times reduced for Dalton, which had been competing largely against teams near Atlanta in Class 6A. Calhoun gives Dalton a region rival within about a 30-minute drive.
Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield remain in Class 4A in 2022-2024, competing in a Region 7-4A with Cedartown, Central-Carrollton, Heritage and Sonoraville.
Sonoraville is a new region opponent for the two after moving up from Class 3A, but the other three were region mates with the two directional Whitfield County Schools for the last two-year region cycle. Southeast Whitfield had competed in a non-region schedule for the last two seasons in football, but the Raiders will compete with the rest of the region normally in 2022, head coach Todd Murray said.
With the move of Murray and North Murray to Class 2A, Coahulla Creek loses a couple of longtime region foes from a neighboring county. Coahulla Creek remains in a seven-team Region 6-3A. Adairsville, LaFayette, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe and Ringgold remain in the region with Bremen and Ridgeland joining.
Murray and North Murray will play in an eight-team Region 7-2A in the new move for the schools. Recent Region 6-3A opponent Rockmart will make the move down into the same region, while the two Murray schools will compete against Fannin County, Gordon Central, Gordon Lee, Haralson County and Model.
The Dalton Academy, which opened this fall, is set to compete in Region 7-A-D1. The school is the only in the eight-team region that doesn't compete in football. The fledgling volleyball, cross country, basketball and soccer programs will compete with Armuchee, Chattooga, Coosa, Dade County, Darlington, Pepperell and Trion.
Christian Heritage is set to be a part of a 14-team Region 7-A-D2, with only four playing football: Bowdon, Christian Heritage, Mount Zion and Pinecrest Academy. In other sports, the Lions will play in a sub-region with Pinecrest, Atlanta Classical, DeKalb School of the Arts, Excel Christian, Georgia School for Deaf and Woody Gap.