Sophomore Cece Hale high-fives teammate junior Brooks Nuckols during a game. PHOTO: Pace Academy

Every fall, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) examines schools’ athletic departments based on their number of students and size. All class levels are considered in determining if a school should move up a division or down. This creates a fair environment so that smaller schools will not have a disadvantage against potentially larger competitors. For the 2022-2023 school year, many schools, including Pace, are set to be realigned in their divisions. “The athletic departments have to sit down and look closely with their coaches to look where we are and where we want to go, and then we will be able to make a decision,” said varsity girls’ basketball coach Christal Caldwell. 

While the GHSA’s Nov. 4, 2021 publication made it seem as though Pace would move from 2AA- public to 1A- private, Head of School Fred Assaf, Athletic Director Chad Wabrek, and Assistant Athletic Director Sharman White made an appeal to move Pace to class AAAA instead. “Based on our success in classes AA and AAA in the past eight years and the excitement generated by local rivalries, we feel that class AAAA is the right place for Pace to compete,” said Mr. Assaf. In addition, moving to class A would create a long and unnecessary travel time to play in away games, creating an extra burden for our coaches and athletes. Class AAAA is a good fit athletically for Pace and will allow exciting games for the spectators. 

As of now, the new class AAAA division will consist of 60 total schools, with 18 of them being new to the division. Pace will be in the same division as Lovett, Westminster, and Holy Innocence once again, fueling local rivalries for the title of state champion. Pace will also be in region 5-AAAA alongside Lovett, Hampton, Luella, McDonough, Mt. Zion, Stockbridge, and Woodland. These changes will allow for Pace to compete with different teams and most likely travel less for region games. The level of competition will change depending on the sport. “Wherever we fall, we will continue to just do what we have to do whatever teams we are against,” Coach Caldwell said. “As a coach, I try not to look too much into the change, and I really try to focus our team.” Pace teams will still have to work just as hard to maintain the success from the past, no matter what division. 

This change is officially set for the next two years, and students are excited to start this new period in Pace athletics. “We are grateful for our partnership with the GHSA, and we’re up for the challenge,” said Mr. Assaf. Pace has had a lot of success athletically in the past years, and hopefully, we can continue this in a new division and bring back some titles in this exciting new division!

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