High School Sports

St. James moving up, others changing leagues in SCHSL 2018-2020 realignment proposal

St. James will move up to Class 5A next season, according to a realignment proposal unveiled by the S.C. High School League on Wednesday.
St. James will move up to Class 5A next season, according to a realignment proposal unveiled by the S.C. High School League on Wednesday. jlee@thesunnews

Soon, student-athletes at St. James will learn exactly “how the big boys (and girls) play.”

On Wednesday, the S.C. High School League (SCHSL) released its latest realignment plan for the state’s five classifications.

According to the proposal, St. James would move up to Class 5A, the largest division in South Carolina. Enrollment numbers estimate the school as the 41st statewide in terms of size, two above the cut line for placement in Class 4A.

The Sharks have been assigned to Region 5-5A, joining fellow Horry County schools Conway, Carolina Forest and Socastee in the league. Also expected to be part of the conference is South Florence, Sumter and West Florence.

Starting next season, Class 4A will move to seven regions. As a result, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach will vacate their familiar digs in Region 7-4A for a new home in Region 6-4A.

It will also force them to take on Pee Dee foes such as Darlington and Hartsville, along with current league foes Marlboro County and Wilson.

“Just looking at it, it’s going to be a very tough region. Overall, there are a lot of teams with tradition, especially in football,” said Myrtle Beach football coach Mickey Wilson. “With us, I always like to have a tough schedule. With this region, your schedule is loaded on a weekly basis.”

Speaking of loaded, Region 6-3A was already relatively stacked to begin with. Already featuring the like of Dillon and Lake City, the conference will add Cheraw to its familiar lineup of Aynor and Loris. Marion will join the league after a stint in Class 2A.

Not part of Region 6-3A in the realignment proposal are Georgetown and Waccamaw. The Georgetown County schools were assigned to Region 8-3A, along with Bishop England, Academic Magnet, Hanahan and Manning.

“Of course (in Region 6-3A) you’re losing Georgetown, but adding teams like Cheraw and Marion,” said Aynor football coach Jody Jenerette. “Cheraw was in our region when I first started as head coach, and they’re always tough. Then again, so is just about everyone else on your schedule.

“Honestly, you can’t really worry about who is in your region, because there are always going to be three or four outstanding teams in it every year — regardless of the sport. You just have to find a way to beat them.”

Carvers Bay remains the lone area squad in Class 2A. One of the smallest schools in the classification, it will remain in Region 7-2A — though members of its supporting cast will be different.

Joining the league will be East Clarendon and Hannah-Pamplico, while fellow Georgetown County school Andrews is move to Region 6-2A. Other holdovers along with the Bears in the conference include Johnsonville, Kingstree, Latta and Mullins.

Green Sea Floyds also is staying pat, the realignment proposal calling for it to remain in Region 6-A. It will be joined by Coastal Leadership (in sports except football), Creek Bridge, Green Sea Floyds, Hemingway and Lake View.

All schools have until Aug. 16 at 1 p.m. to make appeals regarding the realignment proposal.

The SCHSL Executive Committee will hear appeals from schools on Aug. 24. Once approved, the proposal would go into effect ahead of the 2018-19 school year.

Joe L. Hughes II: 843-444-1702, @JoeLHughesII

SCHSL 2018-2020 realignment proposal

Class 5A

Region 1-5A: Easley, Greenwood, J.L. Mann, Laurens, T.L. Hanna, Wade Hampton (G), Westside, Woodmont

Region 2-5A: Boiling Springs, Byrnes, Dorman, Gaffney, Hillcrest, Mauldin, Riverside, Spartanburg

Region 3-5A: Blythewood, Clover, Fort Mill, Nation Ford, Northwestern, Rock Hill, Spring Valley, York

Region 4-5A: Chapin, Dutch Fork, Irmo, Lexington, Lugoff-Elgin, River Bluff, White Knoll

Region 5-5A: Carolina Forest, Conway, Socastee, South Florence, Sumter, St. James, West Florence

Region 6-5A: Cane Bay, Goose Creek, James Island, Stratford, Wando

Region 7-5A: Ashley Ridge, Colleton County, Fort Dorchester, Summerville, West Ashley

Class 4A

Region 1-4A: Belton-Honea Path, Daniel, Palmetto, Pickens, Walhalla, Wren

Region 2-4A: Berea, Blue Ridge, Eastside, Greenville, Greer, Travelers Rest, Union County

Region 3-4A: Lancaster, Richland Northeast, RIdge View, South Pointe, Westwood

Region 4-4A: A.C. Flora, Crestwood, Dreher, Lakewood, Lower Richland, Orangeburg-Wilkinson

Region 5-4A: Aiken, Airport, Brookland-Cayce, Midland Valley, North Augusta, South Aiken

Region 6-4A: Darlington, Hartsville, Marlboro County, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Wilson

Region 7-4A: Beaufort, Berkeley, Bluffton, Hilton Head, Stall

Class 3A

Region 1-3A: Crescent, Liberty, Pendleton, Powdersville, Seneca, West-Oak

Region 2-3A: Broome, Carolina, Chapman, Chesnee, Landrum, Southside

Region 3-3A: Clinton, Emerald, Mid-Carolina, Newberry, Woodruff

Region 4-3A: Camden, Chester, Fairfield Central, Indian Land, Keenan

Region 5-3A: Edisto, Gilbert, Pelion, Strom Thurmond, Swansea

Region 6-3A: Aynor, Cheraw, Dillon, Lake City, Loris, Marion

Region 7-3A: Battery Creek, Lake Marion, May River, Ridgeland-Hardeeville, Wade Hampton (H)

Region 8-3A: Bishop England, Academic Magnet, Georgetown, Hanahan, Manning, Waccamaw

Class 2A

Region 1-2A: Blacksburg, Brashier Middle College, Christ Church, Greenville Tech, Greer Middle College, NEXT, Southside Christian, St. Joseph’s

Region 2-2A: Abbeville, Batesburg-Leesville, Dixie, Fox Creek, Ninety Six, Saluda, Silver Bluff

Region 3-2A: C.A. Johnson, Calhoun County, Columbia, Eau Claire, Gray Collegiate

Region 4-2A: Andrew Jackson, Buford, Central, Lee Central, Lewisville, North Central

Region 5-2A: Allendale-Fairfax, Bamberg-EHrhardt, Barnwell, Whale Branch, Woodland

Region 6-2A: Andrews, Burke, Charleston Charter, Garrett, North Charleston, Oceanside Collegiate, Palmetto Scholars, Timberland

Region 7-2A: Carvers Bay, East Clarendon, Hannah-Pamplico, Johnsonville, Kingstree, Latta, Mullins

Class A

Region 1-A: Calhoun Falls, High Point, McCormick, S.C. School for the Deaf and Blind, Ware Shoals, Whitmore

Region 2-A: Governors School, Great Falls, Lamar, McBee, Timmonsville

Region 3-A: Blacksville-Hilda, Denmark-Olar, Hunter-Kinard-Tyler, North, Ridge Spring-Monetta, Wagener-Salley, Williston-Elko

Region 4-A: Baptist Hill, Bridges Prep, Estill, Lowcountry Leadership, Military Magnet, Phillip Simmons, Royal Live Oaks, St. John’s

Region 5-A: Bethune-Bowman, Branchville, C.E. Murray, Cross, Richland One Middle College, Scott’s Branch

Region 6-A: Coastal Leadership, Creek Bridge, Green Sea Floyds, Hemingway, Lake View