Two weeks after the Georgia High School Association released its new, six-classification line-up, the organization released its initial region assignments Tuesday, and the reactions from Gwinnett's members were mixed.
Perhaps the least happy with their new assignments -- which will take effect next fall and run the next two school years -- are almost certainly the two teams in the newly realigned Region 6-AA, Greater Atlanta Christian and Wesleyan.
From a travel standpoint, the new region keeps the Spartans and Wolves pretty close to home.
But it is the only region that was not subdivided by the GHSA to cut down on travel and time out of class by student-athletes, due to the fact that their are only three other teams in it -- Lovett, Westminster and Hapeville Charter.
And with the latter likely to play non-region schedules in most sports, therein lies the problem according to Wesleyan athletics director Marc Khedouri.
"Our main concern is trying to find (non-region) team to play us," Khedouri said. "Filling out our schedules is going to be exceedingly difficult. This is certainly not a scenario we anticipated."
Individual schools have until noon Dec. 16 to file appeals for lateral moves within classifications to the GHSA's reclassification committee, which will be heard the following Monday at a special meeting at the GHSA office in Thomaston, though Khedouri said officials from schools in the revamped Region 6-AA will likely meet later this week to discuss options.
The school probably happiest with its new assignment was almost certainly Buford, which moved up to Class AAA from AA.
After being placed in a region with primarily public and private schools from western Gwinnett, DeKalb, Fulton and the city of Atlanta the past six years, the Wolves will be headed back to their roots in a new Region 8-AAA comprised of schools from Northeast Georgia.
Joining Buford in Division B of the new region are Banks County, East Hall and West Hall, while Dawson County, Fannin County, North Hall and White County make up Division A.
"After six years of going inside the perimeter, it is a pleasant change for us," Buford athletics director Dexter Wood said. "We've spent most of our history in Region 8. ... But I can really say that, especially for the last two years, we've been in a great region (6-AA). Obviously having GAC as a region and county rival has been fun, and playing Westminster and Decatur and Lovett and teams like that, it's been a good region for us.
"But for our overall sports programs, for our fans in terms of travel, this is a better situation."
The situation for Gwinnett's schools in the new Class AAAAAA will change little from what it has been in Class AAAAA the past two years, with local schools divided into two different regions, with two notable exceptions.
The first is the addition of Habersham Central, which has been a Class AAAA school in recent years, to Region 7-AAAAAA along with Collins Hill, Duluth, Meadowcreek, Mill Creek, Mountain View, Norcross, North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge, which will add some travel time to some road trips within the region.
The other is the aforementioned GHSA-mandated subdivisions, which included both Region 7 and 8, the latter of which will be subdivided between the current members of Region 8-AAAAA.
However, the GHSA has given each region an option to play a full region schedule on a sport-by-sport basis with the approval of a vote of two-thirds of the principals.
"It hasn't been discussed yet," Peachtree Ridge athletics director Bill Holleman said when asked if he had a sense whether the principals might be inclined to consider playing a full region schedule for most sports. "I imagine we could play a full region schedule in everything. It would mean picking up two non-region games for football. We'll have a region meeting sometime soon and see where we go from here."
Among the other highlights from Gwinnett schools in the new realignment plan:
-- Lanier will be placed in a subregion with Eastside of Newton County, Monroe Area and Walnut Grove (both of Walton County) in the new, nine-team Region 8-AAAA that includes five other schools in the northeast Georgia mountains.
-- Gwinnett private schools Hebron Christian and Providence Christian have been placed together with a group consisted primarily of Athens-area private schools in Division B of the 13-school Region 8-A.