New SSAC figures and remembering the old days

Kyle’s Korner ….

The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) released new enrollment figures last week and classifications for the next four academic years, starting in 2016-2017 and going through 2019-2020.

Things have sure changed through the years, especially in Mingo County. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Williamson was a large Triple A school. However, the school’s enrollment continued to decline throughout the years until they had to drop to Class AA, and eventually to Class A.

In year’s past, schools could elect to play up on class and the Wolfpack did just that, competing in AAA, when it was really a Class AA school. Former Coach Allan Hatcher even petitioned to stay in AAA in boys’ basketball, even when the school dropped into the small school category. But that bid was not approved and Williamson then competed in Class AA starting in 1983.

Other schools in the county, Lenore, Matewan, Gilbert and Burch were Class AA at one time. That made for some great sectional tournaments in basketball. Kermit was always in Class A. Eventually all of those Mingo County schools dropped to Class A. Crum High School, which was in nearby southern Wayne County, was also Class A and was included in the local sectional.

Now, the consolidated Mingo Central (which combined Williamson, Burch, Matewan and Gilbert) will stay in AA with an enrollment of 699 students, while Tug Valley, who had been in AA in the past, will remain in Class A with an enrollment of 366. Of course Tug Valley is a consolidation of the old Lenore and Kermit High Schools.

Now in the region, both Logan and Man will be in Class AA. Logan drops from the Triple A ranks after the spring seasons, while Man will move up from Class A. Man will be the smallest school in AA with 460 students.

Many Wolfpack fans can recall when Logan, Man and Williamson made up a 3-team Class AAA sectional in basketball.

It will be interesting to see the new makeup of the AA Cardinal Conference (CC). Tolsia will have to drop out, since they fell into the Class A ranks with an enrollment figure of 410. Both Logan County schools could be considered for the conference. Chapmanville is already in the CC, with Mingo Central not that far away geographically from those schools.

Lincoln County and Winfield could also be considered. The league could expand, but that will be decided at a later date. Nitro also dropped to AA and could be in the mix.

The Class AAA enrollment numbers range from 933 students (Ripley) to 1,965 students (Cabell Midland). In Class AA, Lincoln County has the largest enrollment at 871 students, with Man at the bottom. In Class A, Ravenswood will have the largest enrollment at 433 students. They dropped from Class AA.

Schools dropping from AAA to AA (9): Lincoln County, Winfield, Oak Hill, Shady Spring, Elkins, Nitro, Lewis County, Logan, Point Pleasant

Schools dropping from AA to A are Ravenswood, Mount View, Webster County, Tolsia, Ritchie County and Summers County. Mingo Central just beat Summers County in the first round of the AA playoffs.

The makeup of the new classifications includes 29 schools in AAA, 44 in AA and 54 in A, but only 44 of the small schools field football teams.

Times sure have changed through the years with regards to where schools play and what classification they are placed in. Obviously we have lost population in the state and especially in southern West Virginia.

Like many fans, I sure long for the old days before consolidation.

(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern)
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