Realignment: Polk County may be moving back to 2A

Polk County will return to the 2A ranks beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year, according to data released Friday by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

The NCHSAA realigns its schools into four classifications every four years. Historically, that process has been based solely on enrollment data. For the next realignment, the NCHSAA is using a combination of factors that include enrollment, recent athletic performance and a factor based on the number of students who are aligible for free school meals.

The NCHSAA only released preliminary classification data on Friday. The first draft of a plan including conferences is slated to be provided to member schools on Thursday.

Schools can appeal their classification status or their conference placement. The first round of appeals are due Jan. 8, and a second draft of the realignment plan will be released on Jan. 14. More appeals can be filed before the final draft of the plan is released on Feb. 10.

The plan is scheduled to be officially approved in March by the NCHSAA Executive Committee.

Polk County would be one of 54 schools in the 2A West classification. Among Western Highlands Conference schools, Mountain Heritage would drop to 1A, with Avery and Mitchell remaining in 1A. Current WHC 2A schools Owen and Madison would remain in 2A.

Other area 2A schools would include Brevard, Chase, Hendersonville, R-S Central and East Rutherford.

Polk County last competed as a 2A school in the 2016-17 season before dropping to 1A in the current alignment.

The full list of schools and classifications can be found here: