The Georgia High School Association released the new classifications for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years Monday, and River Ridge will jump two classifications to Class AAAA.
The county’s five older schools will essentially remain in the same position, albeit in a higher classification. The three schools currently in Class AAAAA — Cherokee, Etowah and Woodstock — will make the leap to the new Class AAAAAA, while Creekview and Sequoyah will also make a one-level leap, to Class AAAAA.
River Ridge wound up being the fourth-largest school in Class AAAA with an enrollment of 1,096 students in grades 9-11, missing the Class AAAAA cutoff by 28 students. The school’s administrators have the option of petitioning the GHSA to be placed in the higher classification, and create new rivalries with Creekview and Sequoyah, but River Ridge athletic director Mike Baker said it was still a little too early in the school’s development for that.
“We knew we would be in the top of Class AAAA or the bottom of Class AAAAA,” Baker said, “and we were hoping to be in Class AAAA.
“We have a small junior class of around 200 students. Most schools have a junior class between 300 and 450, and we felt like it wasn’t fair for them to jump up into an upper class. We will join Creekview and Sequoyah in two years.”
The other argument that could have been made for River Ridge playing up a level would have been to lessen the amount of travel the teams will have to make, but Baker said his teams will still be competing in familiar territory.
“We’ll be in the same area we’ve been the last two years,” he said. “We’ll likely be in the I-75, I-575 corridor, and we’ll face teams like Cass, Gilmer and Pickens.”
The GHSA is scheduled to place schools in their new regions Dec. 6. For Cherokee, Etowah and Woodstock, their new region will likely look a lot like their current one as the Cobb County schools that currently share 5AAAAA — Lassiter, Marietta, Walton and Wheeler — will be moving to Class AAAAAA.
For Creekview and Sequoyah, their new region will look nothing like the current Region 7AAAA. Four schools — Chattahoochee, South Forsyth, Johns Creek and Lambert — will all jump to the highest classification, and two schools — Northwest Whitfield and Cass — will remain in Class AAAA.
That leaves a good possibility that current region rivals Rome, Woodland-Bartow and Forsyth Central could join Creekview, Sequoyah and four Cobb County schools — Kell, Pope, Sprayberry and Osborne — in making up a new, nine-team region.