High School Sports

Prep notebook: Cardinal Gibbons requests NCHSAA to move from 3A to 4A

Cardinal Gibbons celebrates winning the championship. The Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders and the West Henderson Falcons met in the NCHSAA 3A volleyball championship match in Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh on November 1, 2014. Cardinal Gibbons won 3-1.
Cardinal Gibbons celebrates winning the championship. The Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders and the West Henderson Falcons met in the NCHSAA 3A volleyball championship match in Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh on November 1, 2014. Cardinal Gibbons won 3-1. newsobserver.com

Cardinal Gibbons will request during the fall meeting of the the N.C. High School Athletic Association that the school be placed in a 4A athletic conference for the next two years.

The NCHSAA aligns member school into conferences for four-year periods, but the NCHSAA Board of Directors can make adjustments after two years.

Gibbons currently plays in the Big Eight 3A Conference. The school has met with representatives of the PAC-6 4A Conference about the possibility of joining that league if the NCHSAA allows Gibbons to move up from the 3A classification, according to Gibbons principal Jason Curtis.

If Gibbons is allowed to move and is accepted into the PAC-Six, both the Big Eight 3A and the PAC-6 would have seven schools.

“Our enrollment is growing and our participation rate is increasing,” Curtis said. “We believe we would be a good fit in 4A.”

Gibbons’ enrollment, according to NCHSAA figures used in football playoff pairings, is 1,430. The Crusaders are larger than current PAC-6 member Person (1,332) and about the same size as East Chapel Hill (1,421) and Northern Durham (1,489). Durham Jordan (1,849), Durham Riverside (1,849) and Durham Hillside (1,647) have more students.

Gibbons, a non-boarding parchial schools, is the third largest school in the Big Eight 3A behind Southern Durham (1,779) and Chapel Hill (1,469).

The Crusaders’ athletic program has been exceptional. Since joining the NCHSAA in 2005, Gibbons has won 50 NCHSAA championships, including girls golf, boys soccer, boys cross country, girls cross country, girls tennis and volleyball this fall.

The NCHSAA allowed teams to move up in a classification for years, but has not allowed schools to “play up” in recent alignments. The practice sometimes created problems when aligning conferences.

The board also has rarely revised conferences in the middle of four-year blocks except for adding new schools.

But Gibbons’ situation is unique because of its athletic success and its growth.

Playoff times: The NCHSAA state 4AA football championship game is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m., at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem.

Earlier in the day, the 2A final is scheduled for noon and the 2AA at 4 p.m. The 4A title game will be Friday night at 7:30.

The 1AA game will be at N.C. State’s Carter Finley Stadium on Friday (7:30). The Saturday games are 1A (noon), 3A (4 p.m.) and 3A (8 p.m.).

The NCHSAA began playing its football championships at neutral sites in 1989.

Murphy picks Duke: Syndei Murphy, one of the best girls high school track athletes in the country, has committed to Duke. The Apex senior was the North Carolina winner of the Gatorade girls track and field athlete of the year.

Murphy won NCHSAA outdoor 4A titles in the triple jump (39 feet, 7.5 inches) and long jump (19-feet, 5.25 inches) and was second in the 100 meters. She was also sixth in the 200. In the indoor season, she won the long jump (19-4).

She was second in the triple jump (41-7.25), third in the long jump (19-8) and 18th in the 100 (11.91) in last summer’s New Balance Nationals.

Fast starts: Peyton Pappas, the quarterback on the Cedar Ridge football team, didn’t take long to switch to basketball. He scored 31 points in the Red Wolves’ 66-57 win over Carrboro on Tuesday.

Harnett Central junior Anthony Staton scored 25 points, making four of six three-point shots, in a 68-58 win over Fuquay-Varina.

“He’s a third-year starter,” Harnett Central coach Will Gage said. “He’s really worked hard on picking up on other parts of his game other than scoring, and he can score in a variety of ways.”

Shannonhouse honored: Carolyn Shannonhouse, a former assistant commissioner of the NCHSAA, will be honored during Cardinal Gibbons’ home basketball games against Cary.

The games are designated as White Out games. Spectators from each team are invited to wear white T-shirts (Gibbons Grateful shirts will be on sale) and write a single word on the shirt for something for which they are grateful.

Staff writer J. Mike Blake contributed to this report.

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