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Berkmar wins appeal with GHSA

Berkmar's wishes of remaining in Region 8-AAAAA for the next four years were granted Wednesday morning by the Georgia High School Association, which approved a minor change to Gwinnett's two Class AAAAA regions.

The GHSA recently placed Berkmar in 7-AAAAA for the 2010-11 to 2013-14 school years, but the Patriots opted to appeal the decision with hopes of staying in 8-AAAAA. School officials made their case Wednesday in Thomaston and got the desired result.

"We were one of the original schools in

8-AAAAA," Berkmar athletic director Glenn Wilson said. "I think that had a lot to do with (winning the appeal). And the fact that we're in the same city with (8-AAAAA school) Parkview. I think that had a lot to do with it."

A poll of the other 8-AAAAA schools -- Archer, Brookwood, Central Gwinnett, Dacula, Grayson, Parkview, Shiloh and South Gwinnett -- went unanimously in favor of Berkmar remaining in the region.

The minor change puts nine teams in 8-AAAAA, while trimming Gwinnett's other AAAAA region to eight teams. The new 7-AAAAA will feature Collins Hill, Duluth, Meadowcreek, Mill Creek, Mountain View, North Gwinnett, Norcross and Peachtree Ridge.

The split puts most of the schools in northern Gwinnett into 7-AAAAA, while putting Berkmar where it wanted to be -- southern-heavy 8-AAAAA.

"Our rival schools are in (8-AAAAA)," Wilson said. "We share city limits with Parkview. They're three miles away. Brookwood's four miles away. Our natural geographic rivals academically and athletically are in that region."

The GHSA didn't alter a disputed region in Class A that featured two Gwinnett teams, Providence and Wesleyan. That region, 7-A, includes 25 teams, most private schools in metro Atlanta.

The organization, after a meeting with several schools last week, did agree to consider a proposal at its Jan. 12 meeting that would alter the playoff structure for such a large region.