VHSL recommendations for 2023 include moving Sherando to Class 5

The path through the postseason could look a lot different for Winchester and Frederick County schools in the future based on the Virginia High School League Alignment Committee’s recommendations for the 2023-24 through 2026-27 four-year alignment cycle released on Saturday.

All four Winchester/Frederick County schools would remain in the Northwestern District under the plan. But Sherando would move from Class 4, Region 4C to Class 5 and be placed in Region 5D, while Handley, James Wood and Millbrook would go from Region 4C to Region 4D.

James Wood coordinator of student activities Brian Sullivan, Millbrook CSA TJ Rohrbaugh and Handley director of student activities Reed Prosser each said they do not plan on appealing their new placement. Sherando CSA Jason Barbe could not be reached for comment. Appeals are due to the VHSL by Aug. 8.

The current Northwestern District consists of seven Class 4 schools and six Class 3 schools, but the recommended plan would put the Northwestern with eight Class 3 schools, four in Class 4 (Handley, James Wood, Millbrook and Liberty) and one in Class 5 (Sherando). Fauquier and Kettle Run would drop from Class 4 to Class 3 in the plan.

Each of the top five classifications are divided into 53 schools each, and Class 1 is made up of 52 schools in the plan. According to the March 31 average daily membership (ADM) figures provided by the VHSL, Sherando is the second-smallest of the schools in Class 5 with an ADM of 1,215. Potomac Falls is the smallest (1,205) in Class 5 and Matoaca is the largest in Class 4 (1,204).

With 19 schools, Region 5D is by far the largest of the four regions in Class 5 (5A has 13 schools, 5C has 11 and 5B has 10). The other 5D schools are Albemarle, Briar Woods, Colonial Forge, Franklin County, Gainesville, Harrisonburg, Independence, John R. Lewis, Lightridge, Massaponax, Mount Vernon, North Stafford, Potomac Senior, Potomac Falls, Riverbend, Riverside, Stone Bridge and William Fleming.

Handley (1,020 ADM), James Wood (1,079) and Millbrook (1,132) will join a Region 4D that is significantly more spread out that than the current Region 4C, which features only schools from Winchester, Frederick County, Loudoun County and Fauquier County. The other 11 schools in the proposed Region 4D are Amherst, Blacksburg, Charlottesville, E.C. Glass, George Washington, Halifax County, Jefferson Forest, Liberty (Bealeton), Monticello, Orange County and Salem. The new Region 4C would consist of 11 schools, each of which are located in Loudoun County.

Clarke County (517) will remain in Region 2B and in the Bull Run District under the recommended plan, but Region 2B would lose one school (East Rockingham has been placed in Class 3) and would gain two schools in Fort Defiance and Riverheads. The other eight holdovers besides Clarke County are Buckingham County, Central, Luray, Madison County, Mountain View, Page County, Strasburg and Stuarts Draft.

— Contact Robert Niedzwiecki
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