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Greyhounds staying in AAAAA; new region up in air

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Since 2016, Jones County has competed within a region whose remainder of teams are from Henry County.

So what teams will the Greyhounds and Lady Greyhounds compete against starting next year? That should be known in the coming weeks, as the latest step in the GHSA reclassification occurred with the most recent classification placements being released on Nov. 4 that would be in effect for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

The reclassification heard appeals from schools as well as those seeking to play in you a higher classification on Wednesday, with decisions on region placements expected to be released next week with an s opportunity to appeal being shortly after.

So what could Jones County’s region look like? That could be known soon, as the continual challenge confronts athletic programs in Jones County of being a AAAAA school at least 30 minutes from another in similar size.

“The main thing is mileage and distance because it doesn’t just affect some teams; it impacts all of our teams. You have to look at all of the sports traveling all over the place,” JCHS athletic director Barry Veal said. “We’re in the middle of the state, but we’ve always been really close to no one. Ever since I have been here, we’ve been in regions where we travel and travel.” r

Before their current region, r the Greyhounds previously competed against teams from Augusta. ervic

“In all honesty, the region we’re in now is one of the closest ones we’ve been in,” Veal said.

That’s not to say that playing in a region of all Henry County teams is not without its pitfalls.

This year, Jones County will host a wrestling region tournament and was slated to host the region softball tournament. Otherwise, Jones County has not hosted one, meaning that, for instance, region meets for cross country and region tournaments for volleyball and basketball have meant travels to Henry County.

The classification placement resulted in two schools, Woodland and Stockbridge, dropping to AAAA with other region teams staying in AAAAA being Dutchtown, Union Grove, Locust Grove, Ola and Eagles Landing. ce

Should JCHS stay in the same region, it’d have two fewer region opponents. That said, Region 1-AAAAA is projected to lose one Houston County school, Veterans, and gain another in Perry. It would also lose Wayne County to a classification change. While other teams from its region could still include Ware County and Coffee, a potential addition of Savannah schools could make travel difficult for teams in Middle Georgia.

“If they both end up in AAAAA, we’d like to be in a region with Warner Robins and Perry,” Veal said. “But if you put all three of us in with the Savannah schools with Coffee and Ware, we probably would not want to do it.”

Another option? The Greyhounds current region 4-AAAAA adding Warner Robins and Perry. That would give JCHS something it has not had – non-Henry County teams in their region. It would also mean two region teams that would not require traveling to Henry County for region contests.

“That’s definitely a possibility. That would be great,” Veal said. “It’d be same number of schools that are in the region now, so you’d pick up the same number of games with all the sports. That’d probably be an idea situation.”

Another possible scenario based on geographics? Region 2, which would include Harris County and schools from the Columbus area, meaning that the Greyhounds and Lady Greyhounds would be swapping travel to face teams from Henry County with those around Columbus with Perry and Warner Robins also joining them. The flip side? Fewer teams in the region, meaning more non-region games would be needed across all sports schedules.