After big year in 3A, growing Warhill will bump up to 4A in 2017-18

mobrien@vagazette.com

Two Bay Rivers District schools that experienced significant athletic success on the Group 3A level this past school year will move out of that Virginia High School League classification beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

According to the VHSL Proposed Alignment plan for the 2017-18 and '18-19 school years released Thursday, Poquoson High is moving down into Group 2A because of declining enrollment. Warhill will move up to Group 4A because of increasing enrollment.

All other Bay Rivers schools will remain in their current classifications for those two school years. Grafton, Jamestown, Lafayette and Smithfield compete in 4A, New Kent, Tabb and York in 3A, and Bruton in 2A.

Warhill's volleyball and softball teams won 3A state championships in 2015-16, while its girls basketball team reached the state quarterfinals.

Neither school will appeal its placement under the proposal, so their movement from 3A is inevitable. Warhill's projected average daily enrollment for grades 9-12 is 1,185, moving it from 3A, where Tabb will be the largest school with 1,168. Poquoson's projected enrollment of 741 will rank it fifth in Group 2A, where Goochland is first with 787.

Warhill athletic director Dan Mullen said, "It's fine with us. We've been a success in Group 3A, but we knew we'd grow because we've added a new (academic) program that will bring in more kids.

"We'll see some better athletes and better competition in 4A, so all of the teams will have to become a little better."

Conferences will be eliminated following the 2016-17 school year, when each state classification will feature four regions rather than the current two. Beginning in August 2017, each school will compete primarily within its district during the regular season, then move for the postseason into its region, where state tournament berths will be decided.

Below we list the classification and region setup for the 10 Bay Rivers District schools beginning in August 2017 (BRD schools in bold).

•4A East Region: Grafton, Jamestown, Lafayette, Smithfield, Warhill, Churchland, Deep Creek, Denbigh, Great Bridge, Heritage, King's Fork, Lake Taylor, Wilson.

•3A Southeast Region: New Kent, Tabb, York, Colonial Heights, Lakeland, Norcom, Park View of South Hill, Phoebus, Southampton, Booker T. Washington.

•2A South: Bruton, Poquoson, Amelia, Arcadia, Bluestone, Brunswick, Goochland, Greensville County, King William, Nandua, Nottoway, Prince Edward, Randolph-Henry, Maggie Walker.

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