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HCHS not happy

CHAPEL HILL – The fight isn’t over, but it took a turn for the worse Thursday.

In the preliminary draft for conference realignment scheduled to take effect in 2009, Hertford County High School was placed back in a split conference.

“We’re not happy, that’s for sure,” HCHS Athletic Director Charles Simmons said. “We still want to be in an all 3-A conference. It would benefit us from top to bottom.”

According to the draft released late Thursday afternoon, HCHS was placed in a seven-team split conference with one other 3-A member, Currituck County High School, and five 2-A schools. They are Bertie High School, Edenton, First Flight, Northeastern and Pasquotank.

Simmons had said when ADM (Average Daily Membership) numbers were released that he wanted the Bears’ athletic program out of a split conference, especially since Bertie dropped to the 2-A ranks.

Friday afternoon he reiterated the importance of getting HCHS into a league of similar-size schools.

“It helps you prepare for the playoffs,” he said. “All of our programs would benefit from being in a 3-A league because it would better prepare us for the competition we play once we get there.”

Simmons said his preference would be to be assigned to what is currently known as Conference 4 which includes R.L. Fike, J.B. Hunt, Nash Central, northern Nash, Rocky Mount and Southern Nash.

“What I have to do right now is dialogue with those schools and verify that they would be willing to have us join them,” he said. “If they are, we can submit our proposal to the NCHSAA.”

The main thing, however, is to get the school in an all 3-A conference. So serious is Simmons that he said he would even be willing to go with Currituck to Conference 3 which includes Havelock, West Carteret, West Craven, Washington, D.H. Conley and South Central.

“Our focus is getting our programs into a conference where we can play 3-A competition night in and night out,” Simmons said. “It’s nothing at all against the 2-A schools, but when you are 3-A, you need to play 3-A competition.”

HCHS Principal Jerry Simmons is on the state realignment committee and acknowledged the group took their first look at the proposal on Thursday.

“We had the first chance to look over the preliminary n and I stress preliminary n proposal Thursday,” he said. “Schools will now have the opportunity to react and give their feedback.”

Simmons said regional meetings will be held in January to further discuss realignment and conference affiliation.

“There’s still much work to do,” Simmons stressed.

A more detailed look at conference break down will be available in an edition of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald next week.