Forsyth Central and Milton will join the four Forsyth County public high schools in Region 5 of the Georgia High School Association’s newly-created Class AAAAAAA. GHSA officials met in Thomaston on Tuesday to place teams into regions across the state’s seven classifications and will give schools that wish to move regions within their classifications a week to submit an appeal.
The executive committee will ratify the realignment on Jan. 13, and the new regions will go into effect at the beginning of the 2016 fall season.
Lambert, North Forsyth, South Forsyth and West Forsyth competed with a hand full of North Fulton schools in Region 6 of Class AAAAAA over the past two seasons, while Central was the only Forsyth school in Region 7-AAAAA, Div. B. Milton has been in Region 5-AAAAAA with the largest schools, in terms of enrollment, from Cherokee County and east Cobb County.
Milton, located in the suburbs north of Alpharetta, is closest to West at 12 miles and farthest from North at 24 miles. North athletic director Nathan Turner, who attended the GHSA meeting Tuesday, said Milton was a preferred choice as the single non-Forsyth school to add to the region based on geography.
“They’re on the same side of GA-400 as us, which helps with traveling obviously,” Turner said. “Overall, the meeting went great. As far as Class AAAAAAA goes, everything had been set in stone for a while.”
Central was a lock to move into the region when the latest enrollment numbers were released last month, but Alpharetta, Centennial, Chattahoochee, Habersham Central, Johns Creek, and Northview—previously the other schools to make up Region 6-AAAAAA—all fell below the cutoff for the new Class AAAAAAA. All schools had the choice to petition to move up in class, but no schools petitioned to move into Class AAAAAAA.
That left North Gwinnett and Collins Hill from the Suwanee area, closest to Lambert, as well as Roswell and Milton as options to fit into the preferred six-team regions. Roswell and Milton have a historic rivalry which will be preserved with non-region matchups.
Milton has won 35 state championships across 13 sports since opening in 1921. Girls lacrosse has won state 10 of the last 11 years, with its only miss in 2009. Other recent state titles include baseball (2013), girls and boys basketball in 2012, girls and boys golf in 2012, and girls soccer in 2012.
Central last competed in the state’s highest classification as a member of Region 7-AAAAA in 2006 and 2007, along with North and South. The Bulldogs moved down to Class AAAA the following year, then back into Class AAAAA in 2012.
Turner said the only downside to the reclassification was shorter league schedules, which will mean more work to do to compile full schedules for football.
“The new challenge is finding five non-region games,” Turner said.
Pinecrest Academy invites familiar foes into subdivision
Pinecrest’s region family grew by two under the realignment, with Mount Paran Christian and Walker moving from Region 6-A, Div. A to Div. B. Mount Paran is located in Kennesaw, Walker in Marietta. The other five teams in the division remain the same, while Bowdon and Gordon Lee were added to Div. A.