With the 2014-16 realignment of South Carolina High School League teams completed, a few local teams are changing classes.
While the area’s newest programs, Westwood and River Bluff, move up from Class 3A to 4A, Richland Northeast moves into Class 3A.
Beginning next fall, the Cavaliers will compete in Region 4-3A, taking the place of Westwood and competing against Dreher, A.C. Flora, Camden, Lower Richland and Chapin.
“It’s like the old saying, do you want to be a smaller fish in a big pond or a bigger fish in a small pond?” said Cavaliers athletics director Gary Fulmer.
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Since the 2012 realignment, Richland Northeast had been the smallest of the 52 schools in Class 4A, based on enrollment figures. With Westwood opening and further splitting enrollment in Richland 2, it came as no surprise that the Cavaliers would become a 3A program. The move is not only expected but beneficial, at least for football, Fulmer said.
“Numbers wise, I think that definitely helps football, so we should be more competitive in 3A,” he said. “I don’t know that it makes that much difference in other sports.”
Then again, he said, “Our boys soccer team is pretty excited. They’ve gotten a lot better and it’s always good to know that you don’t have to beat an Irmo to contend in your region. I think they’d prefer to take their chances with some 3A powers.”
Westwood will compete with other Richland 2 schools, Spring Valley, Ridge View, Blythewood, as well as Lugoff-Elgin and Dutch Fork, in Region 4-4A.
The River Bluff Warriors will join 5-4A, facing Irmo, Lexington, White Knoll, North Augusta and South Aiken in their program’s second season. The program began this year competing in junior varsity football and Class 3A competition in some sports.
Region 5-3A says goodbye to Strom Thurmond and instead welcomes Aiken, a program that was highly competitive in many sports in 4A competition for several seasons.
In Class 2A, Mid-Carolina and Newberry join the all-Midlands Region 3, which also includes Columbia, Pelion, Keenan, Eau Claire, and Fairfield Central.