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Knights’ Athletic Department Makes the Move to 3A

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The Knights will face new challenges at the 3A level next year, but they are still poised for success. Photo: Fred Assaf

For the second time in only two years, Pace athletics will be moving up in the GHSA classifications. After jumping from 1A to 2A before the 2014-2015 school year, the Knights will move again, this time from 2A to 3A for the coming school year.

The decision to move up was made by the Pace athletics department after the GHSA recently reshuffled the classifications, placing Pace back in 1A. According to Pace Athletics Director Dr. Troy Baker, one of the biggest causes for concern was 1A’s separation of public and private schools. “We like the crossover when we’re traveling to city schools and they come to us,” said Dr. Baker. “We think that’s very much indicative of the real world, and we want to put our students in a position where they are challenged.”

With 2A left devoid of metro-Atlanta schools after the shakeup, moving up to 3A was the only logical option. The changes will not be that drastic from their current position in 2A, as familiar faces like Lovett and Westminster will be competing in the same region. But with schools like Redan, Stone Mountain and Towers in 3A, Pace will have challenging opponents from across the metro area.

While only time will tell whether the change is successful, Dr. Baker is extremely optimistic. The biggest challenge for the community, he believes, is the perception of 3A. “Getting everyone to wrap their heads around the fact that we belong in that classification [will be tough],” he said. With a high school enrollment of 451, Pace will be the smallest school in 3A’s Region 5. Cedar Grove is the largest with 1083 students, and Redan and Stone Mountain are not far behind with 1025 and 1019 students, respectively.

But after the success the Knights have had at the 2A level, many student-athletes welcome the competition at the higher level. “I don’t think the competition will be too hard with the talent that we have here at Pace,” said junior Barrett Baker, a member of the varsity basketball team. The athletics department hopes to inspire that same level of confidence in the rest of the Pace community as the school enters the new classification.