PEARISBURG, Va. — Giles High School’s appeal to drop down to Class 1 for high school athletics was denied by the Virginia High School League Thursday during its mid-cycle realignment meeting.
The vote by the VHSL alignment committee for the Spartans to move down from Class 2 was seven in favor and 15 against.
Giles can appeal the decision by August 12 with the final vote for the appeals September 2.
The Spartans were looking to be a Class 1 team for the next two years but hoped to continue to play its district games in the Three Rivers District, a Class 2 district.
Following those two years Giles would move to the Mountain Empire District, a Class 1 district, which would likely improve the school’s overall travel situation.
The reason Giles did not want to immediately move to the MED was to minimize scheduling changes that would affect not only the Spartans, but its fellow Three Rivers district-mates. Schedules are set three years out and there is no telling if all the Giles’ opponents would be able to fill the game on their schedules.
Giles sees dropping down to Class 1 as inevitable when the next four year cycle begins with the current number of students at 477, two students above the cutoff point. That number includes the 2019-20 senior class which has graduated and a very large junior class of 134.
“By the time … 2021 gets here, we are going to be at 462, which is under (Class 2) numbers,” said Giles Athletic Director Steve Wilson.
After reviewing class sizes all the way down to kindergarten he expects Giles High School to have an average daily enrollment as low as 413 students in the future.
In other VHSL action on Thursday, Bland County was denied its request to move from the Mountain Empire District to the Hogoheegee District by a vote of 20-2.
Lebanon will leave the Southwest District as it drops to Class 1D and membership in the Hogoheegee District.
Fort Chiswell is moving down in classification to Class 1C from 2C, where it will join the MED.
Retaining Narrows as a non-district opponent in all sports will remain a top priority for Giles athletics. The VHSL hints that the condensed spring football season on tap for the spring might be limited to district-only games has already caused some anxiety.
“We’re not in favor of that because we want to play that game. We can play them in whatever and it’s going to be greater competition and its going to be hugely attended,” Wilson said.
— George Thwaites contributed to this story