VHSL Proposal Could Move Albemarle, Orange to JD

We may soon see more backyard rivalry games in high school sports in central Virginia.

The initial proposed re-alignment plan for the two-year 2013-15 cycle released on Monday by the Virginia High School League includes Albemarle and Orange County both moving to the Jefferson District.

The proposal comes after last month's announcement that the VHSL is considering scrapping its current three-class format, in favor of a new six-classification setup. The plan released Monday had schools broken down into six classes, based on school size.

Albemarle and Orange were the only two Jefferson District teams in Division 5. Four others -- Charlottesville, Fluvanna County, Louisa County, and Powhatan -- were in Division 4. Monticello and Western Albemarle were both Division 3 schools.

The proposed plan also includes William Monroe remaining in the Bull Run District as a Division 3 school, and Goochland staying in the James River District as a Division 2 school.

Charlottesville principal Thomas Taylor is a member of the VHSL task force studying the potential change. He told the Newsplex last month that a new format could include districts based on geography and preference, as opposed to the current size-based assignments.

"Everybody loves to play a rival. And everybody loves to play a team that's geographically close," Taylor said last month. "But in the past that hasn't really been a possibility, for schools to even play up. Because of the way the current classification system is aligned, it hasn't been to the advantage of a lot of teams to do that."

Albemarle and Orange are both currently members of the AAA Commonwealth District, while the six current Jefferson District members are all classified as AA schools.

The VHSL Redistricting and Realignment Committee unanimously approved the assignments last week, but with the understanding that changes could still be made. Schools requesting modifications must notify the VHSL by February 16, with the committee scheduled to review those requests on February 27.

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