Not going anywhere

Panthers lose appeal, stay in AAAAA


Annika Pepper

Senior Ardit Hoti prepares for the next play against McIntosh. After the Georgia High School Association announced reclassification assignments, the Chiefs and the Panthers will continue to compete in the same region in AAAAA through 2022. The two county rivals will be joined by Whitewater, Griffin, Northgate, Harris County, and Northside in Region 2-AAAAA.

Ben Barkley, Sports Editor

Yesterday, Principal Allen Leonard and Athletic Director Shane Ratliff headed up to the Georgia High School Association to attempt to move Starr’s Mill High School down to AAAA. However, the appeal was denied 16-0, leaving the school’s athletics programs to remain in AAAAA.

“I felt as though we had a valid appeal,” Leonard said. “Ultimately, I can only present the case and [the GHSA] gets to decide ‘yay’ or ‘nay’.”

There were reasons for the attempted switch. The school’s population has dropped over 100 students since the last reclassification four years ago. The GHSA has a multiplier number for all students who live outside the school district, which adds to the total enrollment figures used to set classifications.

Leonard added that the number of kids navigating the halls at Starr’s Mill were “AAAA-level numbers,” but the multiplier number increased that number to put the school at AAAAA. 

To counter this, Leonard took the students that were in special site programs at the school and appealed that, despite the fact that they are Starr’s Mill students, they have not applied to play sports at the school and should not count against the school twice with the multiplier number.

The GHSA disagreed and voted unanimously that Starr’s Mill will compete in AAAAA through 2022 when reclassification will occur again.

Recent reclassification also resulted in a region change that will take effect in the fall of 2020. Griffin, McIntosh, Starr’s Mill, and Whitewater will move from Region 3-AAAAA to Region 2. These four schools will join Harris County, Northside (Columbus), and Northgate.

Other key moves included Fayette County moving to AAAA, and Sandy Creek reclassified to AAA.