NORTH METRO ATLANTA — The cancellation of the GHSA spring sports season is becoming more likely as confirmed coronavirus cases in the state dramatically increase and the federal government has extended its social distancing guidelines through April. If the season is cancelled, it will put a hold on North Fulton and Forsyth County’s domination in most spring sports.
Just last season, local boys and girls teams won 10 state championships in spring sports.
At least one baseball team has earned a berth in the state baseball finals in six of the last seven seasons, with Blessed Trinity, Milton, King’s Ridge and Lambert winning state championships during that span.
Should the season be called, several local programs would be denied the opportunity to repeat tennis and golf state titles, two sports which have been dominated by North Fulton and Forsyth County schools.
Johns Creek boys golf has won the last four Class 6A state championships. The West Forsyth boys are coming off the Class 7A title. Lambert girls won their sixth title in seven years, and the Johns Creek and Northview girls programs have swapped state titles the last three seasons.
The success of local schools is even more impressive in tennis.
At least one North Fulton or Forsyth County program has won a state championship in tennis every year since 2006. During that span, 19 local boys and 17 local girls programs have raised a state title trophy.
In 2019, three tennis state finals featured local teams battling for the crown. The Lambert girls took down Milton for the Class 7A title, Cambridge beat Northview for the girls 6A championships, and Johns Creek downed Northview in the boys 6A finals.
Lacrosse is another sport controlled by local schools. Three squads earned trips to the state finals last year, including the Milton girls, who captured their 13th state title.
Since the GHSA recognized lacrosse as a state championship sport in 2005, over half of all boys’ and girls’ state lacrosse titles have been won by North Fulton or Forsyth County programs alone.
The success of boys and girls soccer has also soared locally, especially in recent years. When the season was suspended in March, 14 teams were ranked in the top-10 of their respective classes.
The cancellation of the spring season would also end the championship hopes for track and field athletes.
In 2019, eight North Fulton and Forsyth County athletes won state championships in individual events, and the Alpharetta boys team won the Class 6A team title.
West Forsyth gymnastics will be denied its chance to four-peat as state champions should the season be called off. The Wolverines bested Lambert for last year’s Class 6A-7A state title with Cambridge placing third.
Season cancellation would usher in new regions
The cancellation of the spring season would also mark the end of the GHSA’s current region alignments. Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, all local schools will either change regions or will face new opponents in region play.
In the top classification, 7A, rivals Roswell and Milton will compete in the same region for the first time since 2016-17, with both placed in Region 5-AAAAAAA. Alpharetta will join its North Fulton neighbors in the region having made the jump from Class 6A.
The three North Fulton schools will square up against three Cherokee County teams — Etowah, Cherokee and Woodstock.
Forsyth County rivalries will continue to deepen in the new Region 6-AAAAAAA. North Forsyth, West Forsyth, Lambert, South Forsyth and Forsyth Central will continue as region foes, and will now be joined by Denmark, which will make the significant jump from Class 4A.
The schools will still have one out-of-county opponent, Gainesville.
Several local schools will remain in Region 7-AAAAAA, but the region is not without significant changes. Cambridge, Centennial, Chattahoochee and Johns Creek will have new region foes in River Ridge, Creekview, Riverwood and Sequoyah.
A significant absence from the region is Northview, the only local school to move down in classification. The Titans will join Region 5-AAAAA, which includes 10 schools, mostly from DeKalb County.
Blessed Trinity will also compete in Class 5A after the GHSA denied their appeal to stay in 4A. The Titans will compete against Calhoun, Cartersville, Cass, Hiram and Woodland-Cartersville.
Fellowship Christian, King’s Ridge, Mount Pisgah, Pinecrest Academy and St. Francis will remain in Region 6-A and will be joined by newcomers Brandon Hall, Lakeview Academy, Mt. Bethel Christian and Weber School. Only Lakeview Academy will field a football team in 2020-21.
Unlike prior years, Region 6-A will not include subregions.