RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As of 2013, the Central Region will be no more. The VHSL Executive Committee voted today to institute a new classification plan, that will send Central Virginia teams all over the state in the postseason.
The new system will feature six classes, separated by enrollment, with two regions per class based on "East" and "West" or "North" and "South". Within each region, there are four conferences, that will host postseason tournaments to determine who makes the state tournament. In football, there will be no conference tournament - just a 32 team bracket-style tournament for each class to determine a state champion.
The only changes are to the postseason. In the regular season, teams remain in their districts, but a "district championship" no longer means anything to the postseason. A team's seeding in the new postseason is based on power points. Schools did not want to lose their geographic rivalries, so the VHSL's plan had to include team's being able to continue to play their district teams.
But once the playoffs hit, some local teams may have a long road. The only former Central Region teams who will be 6A are Cosby, Thomas Dale, Varina and James River. Those teams have Franklin County and Roanoke's Patrick Henry in their conference - which could mean a long road in a conference tournament.
Some schools will have the opportunity to play their rivals in conference tournaments - in 5A, Godwin, Freeman, Hermitage and Deep Run are in the same district. That Conference 11 also features Capital district squads Atlee, Henrico, Highland Springs and Atlee.
But the Dominion has been totally spread out - Cosby and James River in 6A; Clover Hill, Bird and Manchester in 5A; Monacan and Midlothian in 4A and Huguenot and Wythe in 3A. In fact, the Richmond City Schools get what they wanted - a conference with them, Petersburg and Hopewell.
To see where all the schools in Virginia are going, visit the VHSL Website: http://www.vhsl.org/doc/upload/Item%2030-final-recommended-conferences-alignment-plan-for-2013-14-and-2014-151.pdf
There are still many details to iron out, but one thing is for certain - many more teams in all sports will make the playoffs. There will be more state championships to win, but the road will be more difficult - with schools having to travel all over the state for playoff games.
The executive committee voted to approve the plan 23-3.