High schools to get new conference assignments in 2013-14
by Staff Writer
Mooresville, Lake Norman and Lake Norman Charter high schools will no longer have a connection to Mecklenburg County under the latest conference realignment plan drawn by the N.C. High School Athletic Association.
The plan could have Mooresville and Lake Norman leaving the I-MECK 4A conference in the 2013-14 school year. The other six I-MECK 4A schools are Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools members North Mecklenburg, Hopewell, Hough, Vance, Mallard Creek and West Charlotte.
Mooresville and Lake Norman would be assigned to a 3A/4A split conference with four other Iredell County schools (Statesville, North Iredell, South Iredell and West Iredell), North Lincoln and Alexander Central.
“I’m extremely happy with it,” said Mooresville Athletics Director Barclay Marsh. “Every school in Iredell County is in the league.”
That closeness will make for good rivalries and crowds in various sports, Marsh said, and reduce travel time.
The biggest concern about the new alignment came from the Class 3A schools in Iredell County, whose enrollments are smaller than their 4A counterparts Mooresville and Lake Norman. For instance, West Iredell’s enrollment is 1,017 compared to Lake Norman’s 1,998.
The 3A contingent from Iredell County proposed an all-3A conference, which would include schools from Catawba and Lincoln counties, at the state athletics association realignment meetings on Jan. 23 in Maiden.
Lake Norman High Athletics Director Steve Rankin said he wasn’t opposed to a 3A/4A split conference.
“If there was something better for us, I’d be for it, but it is what it is,” Rankin said. “I’d prefer being in a strictly 4A conference, but with CMS (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) not dividing, there really was no other way.”
Rankin said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools pushed to have its schools contained in three conferences (two with eight teams apiece, and one with seven). An option might have been to create four 4A conferences of six or seven teams apiece, which could have included more schools from neighboring Iredell and Union counties.
Rankin said he understands how the 3A schools feel, having to “right off the bat” play three larger schools (Lake Norman, Mooresville and Alexander Central). He also said there was a proposal made Jan. 30 that would move North Lincoln. Whether that happens, Lake Norman and Mooresville likely will be in a conference with Iredell neighbors that it regularly plays in nonconference matches.
“That’s 95 percent of the plus of this proposal,” Rankin said. “We will have some well-attended ballgames in several sports.”
Lake Norman Charter athletics director Matt Schlegel said he’s happy with the proposal, which would land the Knights in a 2A conference with seven schools from Catawba and Lincoln counties.
“We’re in the middle of 2A with our (enrollment) numbers, so the plan is about the best we could expect,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of 2A schools around here. There might be a problem with more travel, but listening to a lot of the 2A schools at the (Jan. 30) meeting, travel’s a problem for a lot of schools. I’m excited, our coaches are excited and I think this is going to be good for all our sports, not just two or three.”
Lake Norman Charter is in its first season as a member of the 1A/2A Southern Piedmont conference.
“We wanted to be part of a conference for a long time and now we’re in one now with established schools and programs,” Schlegel said. “We’ll be joining a conference that also has schools that have a long history.”