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Dacula to move back up to Class AAAAA in '08

Starting next fall, athletic teams from all of the Gwinnett County School System's current schools will be playing on the same level.

That's because Dacula was the only one of the system's schools affected when the Georgia High School Association released its 2008-10 reclassification numbers Friday.

Dacula, which is in its second year at Class AAAA following the last reclassification two academic years ago, had a projected enrollment large enough to rejoin the 14 other Gwinnett public schools in Class AAAAA - the GHSA's highest classification.

"That was pretty much expected," Gwinnett director of athletics, activities and community schools Mike Emery said when informed of the numbers. "Now, I expect that it may change again when we (reclassify) again in two years because we've got new schools opening."

The fate of two of those schools expected to open in 2009 - Archer and Mountain View - were apparently not yet addressed by the GHSA as neither school appeared in any of the classification lists provided by the GHSA.

"I assume those numbers were sent in (to the GHSA) by the (Gwinnett school) superintendent's office," Emery said. "I haven't been involved in the process, so I don't know what their status is."

The only other change among Gwinnett's other GHSA schools involved Wesleyan, which has been playing at Class AA since 2000.

However, the removal of the 1.5 multiplier to the enrollment of private schools, which had been in place since that time, will allow the Wolves' athletic programs to move down to Class A to join those from fellow Gwinnett private schools Providence Christian and Hebron Christian.

Wesleyan has the option to play up a classification and maintain rivalries with Buford and Greater Atlanta Christian, which both remained in Class AA.

However, Wesleyan athletics director DeWayne Cupples said the school intends to move its teams down beginning next year.

"We're an A-sized school," Cupples said Friday. "We felt like this was the best decision for us. I have a lot of respect for both (Buford and GAC). I'm friends with both (Buford athletics director) Dexter Wood and (GAC athletics director) Tim Vick, and I'm sure we'll remain in touch."

Buford, GAC, Providence and Hebron also have the option of playing up a classification, though it is not initially clear whether any of those schools will choose that option. Buford athletic director Dexter Wood confirmed recently that his school was pondering a move up to AAA.

Officials from those schools have until noon on Nov. 26 to notify the GHSA of their intention to play up. That is also the deadline for any school to challenge the posted reclassification numbers.

Three days later, the GHSA's Reclassification Committee will being the process of dividing each of the new classifications into regions, with the deadline for making appeals for region changes within the same classifications being at noon on Dec. 14.

The whole reclassification process is expected to be completed by the GHSA's Executive Committee meeting Jan. 10.

SideBar: 2008-10 RECLASSIFICATION

School and projected enrollment

Class AAAAA

Mill Creek, 3,771.5

Collins Hill, 3,643

Brookwood, 3,409.5

Grayson, 3,107.5

Peachtree Ridge, 3,051

Berkmar, 2,960.5

North Gwinnett, 2,898

Norcross, 2,810.5

South Gwinnett, 2,766.5

Centrall Gwinnett, 2,685

Parkview, 2,613

Meadowcreek, 2,237

Dacula, 2,229

Duluth, 2,111

Shiloh, 2,068.5

Class AAAA

Winder-Barrow, 1,585.5

Apalachee, 1,541

Class AA

Buford, 771

GAC, 646

Class A

Wesleyan, 428

Providence, 382

Hebron, 243