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NCHSAA approves changes to local conferences

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CHAPEL HILL — The NCHSAA Board of Directors voted on 18 classification and conference appeals for mid-alignment changes Wednesday morning, with a handful affecting local leagues starting with the 2023-24 school year, the third of the current four-year alignment.

According to HighSchoolOT, the NCHSAA approved placing the newly opened NCSSM-Morganton into the Western Highlands 1A/2A Conference. The Dragons began playing independently this fall in cross country and tennis and this winter have basketball and swimming.

NCSSM-Morganton will join Draughn, Avery County, Madison, Mitchell, Mountain Heritage, Owen and Rosman in the WHC.

In the Mountain Foothills 7 2A Conference, which is home to Patton, Brevard, Chase, East Rutherford, Hendersonville, Polk County and R-S Central, Polk successfully appealed to drop down to the 1A classification, meaning the MF7 will become a split 1A/2A league. Chase made the same appeal to the NCHSAA, but it was denied.

According to Polk Sports, the Wolverines, as the only 1A school in what will become the Mountain Foothills 7 1A/2A Conference, can qualify for the 1A state playoffs as a conference champion by finishing first, second or third overall in the league or by having an overall record better than .500 to retain seeding protection. If those criteria are not met, Polk will be seeded as an at-large team in 1A West brackets.

In other regional decisions reported by HighSchoolOT, A.C. Reynolds was approved to drop down from 4A to 3A and remain a member of the Mountain 3A/4A Conference while Asheville’s request to make the same move in the same league was denied.

The News Herald sports department can be reached at sports@morganton.com.

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