Clay Battelle, Local Sports, Sports, Trinity Christian, University

Class expansion and realignment will have its pros and cons for every school, sport involved

MORGANTOWN — On April 5, the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission announced the confirmation of a fourth classification for three sports along with new sectional and regional alignments to begin next year and run through the 2027-2028 season.

Along with boys’ and girls’ basketball — which already had four classes — baseball, softball, and volleyball will all move to a four-class system. A fourth class was also added to football, although without sections or regions.

Included in the realignment were several schools statewide not only being moved around sectionally and regionally but also to an entirely new classification. Schools such as Bridgeport and Brooke, who both shared Region I with Morgantown, University, and Preston, will now compete in Class AAA instead of Class AAAA.

Locally, while every school has had some sort of change within its region, the only school that will change classes is Trinity Christian, dropping down from Class AA to Class A.

TCS, which was in Class AAA just a few years ago, will join Clay-Battelle in Class A Region I, Section 1 along with Cameron, Madonna, and Notre Dame. The other half of Region I in Section 2 will be six other schools — Wood County Christian, Valley, Magnolia, Paden City, Hundred and Parkersburg Catholic.

Trinity athletic director and boys’ basketball coach, Codey Horton, said he believes the change is the correct move for the Warriors.

“We have around 100 students and have trouble fielding enough players for all sports,” he said. “Being able to be in the same region and section alongside rivals and conference foes is great and I think four classes is the way to go.”

Clay-Battelle boys’ head coach Josh Kisner was quick to acknowledge the new competition that will be joining his section.

“We may be in one of the toughest sections in the state,” Kisner said. “Then with our region having 11 schools, we will have to put in the extra work in the offseason to make sure we are prepared for battle. With teams like Trinity, Notre Dame and Magnolia coming down from Class AA, it is going to increase the level of competition greatly.”

For girls’ basketball and volleyball coach Nick Lusk at University, he sees the change as an opportunity.

“As far as basketball, winning the section during the regular season becomes more important because you’ll have the bye in the first round,” he said. “With volleyball, I will definitely miss being able to play against Bridgeport in our section. They are always a strong team. Volleyball sectionals are all played on the same night so there isn’t much change there.”

UHS boys’ basketball coach Joe Schmidle gave a different point-of-view when it came to the changes and offered some suggestions also.

“When you look at the big picture in our region, you still have to get through Morgantown or Wheeling Park to get to states,” he said. “I have never been too fond of sections and honestly we could do away with them while still having all four regions represented in Charleston.

“Why not keep the four regions and seed the teams, then play,” he continued. “For example in our region, the top-two teams would get a bye, then the three-six and four-five teams would play to move on. The top-two seeds would be able to avoid each other to go to the state tournament or play on the road like they do now. A one- or two-seed should never have to go on the road to go to states if you think about it.”

TWEET @DomPostSports