Only 29 high schools left in Class AAA
The continued loss of jobs in West Virginia’s coal industry. Shrinking enrollments in high schools across much of the state. An attempt to help the schools with 600 to 800 students compete with others with nearly the same numbers and not those with double their enrollments.
All of the above reasons have brought widespread changes to West Virginia’s high school landscape.
After trying to keep the schools with 750 students from competing against the ones with 1,400 to 1,800 students the governing WVSSAC organization has pared away nine Class AAA schools from last year and placed them in the Class AA ranks.
And some of the schools moving back to the Class AA ranks have been among the achievers when grouped in the state’s larger schools.
Nitro was in the state championship baseball game for the second straight season. Point Pleasant had an undefeated football season in 2015. Logan is an established “sports crazy” community. Winfield produces statewide-competitive teams in a large percentage of its sports. Oak Hill has boys basketball teams in the state tournament.
Also going back into the Class AA ranks are Lincoln County, Shady Spring, Elkins and Lewis County.
With the addition of Nitro, Logan, Winfield, Oak Hill and Point Pleasant the Class AA ranks have been upgraded considerably. And already vying for state honors in that class are Bridgeport, Bluefield, Fairmont Senior, Robert C. Byrd, Wayne, Weir, Chapmanville and Keyser.
There were no schools moving up a class, so that leaves the Class AAA ranks with only 29 schools.
There will be no change made to the 16-team football playoff field — meaning more than half the football-playing, Class AAA high schools will qualify for the 2016 playoffs.
Moving lower from the Class AA field to Class A will be Ravenswood, Tolsia, Summers County, Mount View, Ritchie County and Webster County. Moving up one class from Class A to Class AA will be the Man High Hillbillies.
For the 2016-17 school year there will be only 29 schools in the Class AAA ranks with 44 schools competing in Class AA and 54 schools located in Class A. Only 44 schools field football teams in the Class A ranks.