AHSAA reclassification impacts Lowndes County high schools

Published 7:20 pm Friday, April 12, 2024

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The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has released its reclassifications of schools for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 fall and winter sports season, revealing changes which will affect both Central High School and The Calhoun School. 

Lowndes County Public Schools Athletics Director Nickles Rankins said the school system protested the AHSAA Central Board of Control’s December 2023 decision in January, but the appeal was denied.

According to Rankins, the reclassification presents a financial hardship local schools cannot afford to bear, forcing Central’s football team to travel as far as Mobile and Baldwin counties to play football, with their closest competition in Clarke County.

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Member schools of the AHSAA are reclassified every two years. The schools are divided into seven classes: 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, 6A and 7A with multiple areas and regions within each class. 

The new classification lists 32 schools as Class 7A, 57 as Class 6A, 62 as 5A, 66 as 4A, 65 as 3A, 62 as 2A and 76 as 1. Alignments released for fall sports which recently completed championship play. 

The Central High Lions and The Calhoun School Tigers are no longer in the same region even though both schools have moved back up to 2A for football. The schools remain in the same area for basketball. 

Brian Coleman, Central’s athletic director and basketball coach, explained some of the negative effects this change will have on the school’s athletic program. 

“The change in the football region will cost Central a substantial amount in travel,” Coleman said. “Since we are traveling to school’s further away, the travel and the cost plus the times we will have to leave and return on Friday nights will add up very quickly. After this decision, all we can do now is play and find creative ways to come up with funds.” 

The Central Lions will now be in 2A Region 1 for football and Calhoun will be in 2A Region 3. As for basketball, both teams will both be in Area 5.

Calhoun athletic director and head football coach Ervin Starr explained that reclassification back to 2A changes a few things, and some for the good, for Calhoun athletics. 

“The rise in competition is immediate in each sport,” Starr said. “The great thing about that is, over the past few years, each of our sports have shown great improvement and will continue to do so with upgrades within our athletic department. Another challenge will be student participation. We have to try to increase our numbers in order to be competitive… and we will.”

The move to 2A Region 3 means Calhoun will now face top-ranked teams like Highland Home School and Luverne School.

 “Calhoun also renews some old rivalries with a few schools by moving back to 2A which is always good for the schools and communities of the schools,” Starr said. “We’re excited about the next two years plus! Calhoun’s administration, principal Nicholas Townsend and assistant principal Angel DeJarnette, do a great job with working and supporting the athletic department to help our student athletes achieve as much success as possible. And, with the way our coaches work with and support each other as well as holding each other accountable, the love that we have for our student athletes and The Calhoun School… it’s go time!”

For a complete list of AHSAA school classifications, visit www.ahsaa.com/schools/2024-2026-classification-alignments.