RANDOLPH COUNTY — Two area high schools will remain stationary as others move to new classifications next season as a part of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s realignment, the organization announced last week.

Last week, the NCHSAA released its designations for classification that will keep Trinity and Wheatmore high schools together in the reconfigured 2-A West. As nearby Thomasville High School heads to the 1-A West and Ledford moves to the 3-A West, losing crosstown matchups along the way, the Bulldogs and Warriors will maintain its rivalry within the same classification.

Among the state’s other changes, football will no longer crown eight state champions, as the NCHSAA eliminated subdivisions in the sport, effective August 2021. At the annual NCHSAA board of directors meeting, other alterations pertained in part to navigating the coronavirus pandemic. The association approved the creation of a 60-second officials’ timeout in each quarter for basketball to provide an opportunity for athletes to adapt to wearing masks during competition.

Basketball is the first winter sport to begin action, as first practices were scheduled for Monday at press time. Further, the board reduced the number of regular season contests in football, effective August 2021, to 10 games, including endowment, while implementing a stipulation that the first contest may not occur more than two days in advance of the final Friday in August.

“The NCHSAA has never asked more of a board of directors at any time in the association’s history than we have of this group since March,” NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said. “They have risen to the challenge and guided the association and its member schools with a steady and calm hand.”

Due to COVID-19-related measures taken by the NCHSAA, high school football will not be played until at least February. The NCHSAA moved the first official football practice of the season to Feb. 8. The state’s first competition date is set for Feb. 26, and the season is set to wrap up April 9.

Much of whether the state can complete fall, winter and spring sports uninterrupted has to do with the arrival of a vaccine, perhaps as early as the first quarter 2021.

“As we await the COVID-19 vaccine and hopeful abatement of the current worldwide crisis, we believe that better days are ahead for NCHSAA member schools, and we will again be able to offer the robust programs and championship events that our student-athletes, coaches and communities have enjoyed for so long,” Tucker said.

Realignment is conducted every four years as mandated by NCHSAA bylaws. Conference designations are due for release today.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.