Cartersville will be traveling through Atlanta regularly when it competes against regional opponents beginning in the fall, adding to the amount of time it takes to participate in sporting competitions for its student athletes.
The Georgia High School Association executive committee approved the action Wednesday. Cartersville was moved out of Region 6-AAAA by the GHSA late last year into Region 5-AAAA through the 2016-’18 cycle.
In Region 5-AAAA it will be competing against teams fielded by Cedartown, Central-Carroll, Chapel Hill, LaGrange, Sandy Creek and Troup.
“Cartersville will have to go through Atlanta when traveling to about four of those schools,” Darrell Demastus, Cartersville athletic director, said. “We’ll be going from one side of Atlanta to the other in most cases.”
He said that means the trips likely will take longer and also take more instructional time away for the participants.
“We don’t have the capability of leaving school early,” the athletic director said. “For example, if we send three buses to LaGrange, we can’t leave at 2:15 because our buses have to finish their other tasks before they are available to take our athletes around.”
He said while it will affect varsity students, the impact on Cartersville’s JV sports could be even greater because their games traditionally start even earlier than varsity games.
“We can’t justify leaving at 12:15 or 12:45 p.m. to get those students to their schools,” he said.
He said school officials are studying the issue and it’s unclear what action should be taken.
The GHSA had voted in December to make the change, and Cartersville appealed the decision to the GHSA executive committee on Wednesday.
Cartersville High principal Marc Feuerbach presented the request for a lateral transfer to Region 6 in Class 4A from Region 5 in Class 4A.
GHSA member Jesse Crews made the motion to deny with a second by Wayne Tootle. It passed 8-4-1 with Glenn White, Bruce Potts, J.B. Arnold and Tim Vick voting no and Earl Etheridge abstaining.
Cartersville argued unsuccessfully that the proposed alignment would extend travel distances and requested it be placed with teams in its current region: Gilmer, Heritage-Catoosa, LaFayette, Northwest Whitfield, Pickens, Ridgeland and Southeast Whitfield.
The original appeal by Cartersville was denied by the Reclassification Committee on Dec. 8.
The school fields teams in sports ranging from football, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball and tennis, and they travel to those schools to compete in athletic competitions.
Demastus said there is nowhere else to appeal to and added the two-year change will go into effect the 2016-17 school year.
He added the trips should cost about the same for the school.
Demastus said GHSA members said they have been directed by state legislature to even the regions out.
“Now we have to live with the change,” he added.