Franklin County football

Franklin County High School has cleared another hurdle in front of its planned move to the Blue Ridge District beginning in the school year 2019-20.

The VHSL Alignment Committee voted 24-0 this week to approve Franklin County’s request to move to the Blue Ridge from its current home in the Piedmont District.

Franklin County would join current Blue Ridge members Lord Botetourt, Northside, Staunton River, William Byrd and William Fleming if the plan is ultimately approved by the VHSL Executive Committee in September.

Franklin County’s move a year from now is basically a done deal.

The current Blue Ridge schools voted unanimously to invite the Eagles into the nest last year and there appears to be no opposition to the switch.

Franklin County is a Class 6 member that is Timesland’s largest school with 2,050 students. The Blue Ridge schools, including potential Class 3 opponents, all intend to schedule the Eagles in most sports, including football.

“Everybody’s going to play us,” Franklin County principal Jon Crutchfield said. “That’s one reason we wanted to move. [Some of] the Piedmont schools wouldn’t play us.”

Two current River Ridge District members — Cave Spring and Hidden Valley — had a similar request to move to the Blue Ridge nixed by the Alignment Committee by a vote of 23-1.

The committee voted 24-0 to approve Rural Retreat’s move from the Mountain Empire District back to the Hogoheegee District.

Grayson County requested to be placed in Class 1 despite having a Class 2 enrollment of 489 students. That bid was turned down by a 23-1 vote.

The VHSL will hold an Aug. 21 hearing where schools can make appeals to the VHSL’s initial alignment plan for the four-year cycle beginning in 2019.

The final word will come from the Executive Committee in September.

Still in doubt for Franklin County is the makeup of its Class 6 region.

Currently, the Eagles are one of eight teams in Region 6B with Clover Hill, Colonial Forge, Cosby, Thomas Dale, James River-Midlothian, Manchester and Riverbend.

Clover Hill is dropping to Class 5 in 2019.

Rather than allow a seven-team region, the committee has proposed a major reshaping in Class 6 that would put Franklin County in a 14-member Region 6A with seven schools from the Tidewater area in the East and the Eagles and the other six schools in the West.

A similar quandary exists in Class 5, where the committee has initially assigned Patrick Henry and William Fleming to an eight-school Region D.

Meanwhile, Region 5A would have 18 schools and Region 5B would have 17.

The alignment committee is allowing the Class 6 and Class 5 regions to hash out and propose an alternate plan prior to its next meeting July 25.

“The big win for us is the Blue Ridge,” Crutchfield said. “We’ll have some rivalries that will be fan-friendly and travel-friendly.”

Blacksburg sports hall to induct 4 in October

Blacksburg High School will add four new members to its sports hall of fame in October.

The 2018 inductees are:

  • Duane Shealor (class of 1966), who was the quarterback on two New River District football championship teams, a member of the 1965 VHSL Group 1B basketball state title team and a four-year starting pitcher in baseball. Shealor earned a football scholarship to Virginia Tech.
  • David Wright (1968), who set a track and field school record in the 220-yard dash, went undefeated as a senior in cross country and was a member of the 1968 Group 1B state basketball championship team. Wright competed in track, cross country and swimming at Virginia Tech and was the longtime cross country and track coach at Pulaski County High.
  • Debbie Byrd Campbell (1982), who was an all-region volleyball player on teams that compiled a 55-4 record, was an all-region basketball player on teams that finished 66-4, a region champion in tennis and a doubles state semifinalist. She was a four-year volleyball starter at Radford University, where she also played tennis for one year.
  • Greg Shockley (1995), who was a two-time all-region quarterback on three New River football championship teams, a three-year starter in basketball on teams that won a combined five district titles and an all-region baseball player. Shockley played football at Virginia Tech, where he served as a graduate assistant before becoming an assistant at William and Mary, VMI and Christopher Newport.

State all-star soccer games sporting new look

The state high school all-star soccer games are now being run under the auspices of the Virginia Soccer Coaches Association and both will be held Saturday at Lynchburg College.

For the first time, seniors from Virginia private schools will compete in the games along with public-school players.

Timesland players who have committed are:

Girls — Ashlen Burch, Blacksburg; Madisen Charles, North Cross; Margaret Donnan, Alleghany; Noele Galindo, Jefferson Forest; Sarah Linkenhoker, Blacksburg; Grace Martin, Christiansburg; Morgan Mullens, Christiansburg; McKinley Pollard, Cave Spring; and Jordyn Sadler, Hidden Valley.

Boys — Austin Bissell, Blacksburg; Joe Cranwell, North Cross; Michael Hill, Radford; Chase Mackey, Jefferson Forest; and C.J. Poulsen, Cave Spring.

The girls game kicks off at 3:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 5:30 p.m.

Admission is $5.

Robert Anderson has been the high school sports editor of The Roanoke Times since 2001.

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