Green Hope, Panther Creek to Stay in Tri-9

Story by staff reports. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – This week, Panther Creek and Green Hope high schools won an appeal to stay in their current Tri-9 4A Athletic conference in Wake County Public Schools.

Tri-9 Realignment Nixed

A planned realignment for 2013-17 by the N.C. High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) would have moved Panther Creek and Green Hope to a the Pac-6, a conference based mostly in Durham County, and would have had teams traveling outside Wake County for almost all away games.

NCHSAA Listens

Dozens of supporters from both schools visited a hearing of the NCHSAA Board of Directors in support of the appeal. School and district leaders wanted to continue the history, traditions and friendly rivalries of the Tri-9 4A Conference, which comprises eight WCPSS high schools and one school from Lee County.

“I was proud to see, this morning, the entire Tri-9 represented in support of their conference partners, Green Hope and Panther Creek,” said Superintendent Tony Tata. “We appreciate the NCHSAA listening to our concerns, and are very satisfied with the outcome that ultimately benefits our student-athletes.”

The NCHSAA realignment process began in November 2011, and would have shuffled Panther Creek and Green Hope to the PAC Six Conference to fill a slot vacated by East Chapel Hill High School. WCPSS principals, athletic directors and other leaders did extensive research and appealed to the NCHSAA board several times.

East Chapel Hill Stays 4A

Although both schools had generated petitions and huge student and parent support in their protest to remain in their Tri 9 conference, ultimately it was the numbers that determined where these schools were placed.

When East Chapel Hill High recently reported that their enrollment had inched above 1441, they were re-classified as 4A, instead of sizing down to 3A.

In the current Tri-9 conference Lee County High has also been re-classified to 3A and will leave the Tri-9 where it has competed for many years.

Leaders at Panther Creek and Green Hope were pleased by public support of their efforts, and by the outcome of the appeal.

“The sense of community we had alluded to all along was evident today, as every school in the Tri-9 showed up and stood up on our behalf,” said Green Hope Principal James Hedrick. “I think the big thing is that we feel that sense of community and the sense of rivalry will stay intact.”