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Cape Fear Academy outgrows current athletics classification

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WILMINGTON,NC (news release from Cape Fear Academy) -- We have recently learned that Cape Fear Academy will be placed into the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association’s (NCISAA) largest classification in 2012-2013 for Varsity athletic competition, the 3A classification. This placement into the 3A classification is due to the school’s increasing enrollment at the high school level. Cape Fear Academy’s current Upper School enrollment is 235, which is ten students over the upper limit of the 2A classification. This 3A classification placement will start with the fall 2012 athletic teams.

The NCISAA, an 85-member organization, includes 28 schools scheduled to be in the 3A classification for the 2012-2013 school year. The school enrollment numbers in the 3A classification will range from 235 to 552. With our current enrollment numbers, CFA will be the smallest 3A school.

While we are disappointed to be leaving the 2A classification, we anticipated the move as an inevitable consequence of the growth of our school. The transition to the 3A classification will not impact our mission as a school or athletic department. We will still strive for participation, good sportsmanship, skill improvement, great memories, and lasting relationships.

Would we ever consider holding our enrollment numbers below 225 in Upper School?

No, we would never considering holding down enrollment numbers. We have always accepted students to Cape Fear Academy who are mission-appropriate, and we have never denied a student admission or capped our Upper School enrollment numbers to maintain a certain classification. Denying admission to students to reach a desired athletic classification level would be, in our opinion, unfair to these potentially deserving students.

Does the NCISAA re-evaluate these numbers?

The NCISAA will re-evaluate the classification numbers this summer and will make recommendations for the 2013-2014 school year.

What does this mean for conference play and scheduling?

Our reclassification will only affect Varsity teams; the JV and MS teams will not be affected by this change in classification at all. It is also important to note that this reclassification is not going to affect Field Hockey, Boys Lacrosse, and Girls Lacrosse, as those sports already play in all-classification, state-sanctioned sports.

In terms of our regular season schedule, the move will have only a minimal effect. Cape Fear Academy will remain in the CFIC conference for the 2012-2013 school year. We will still face many of our familiar and traditional foes in conference play, including Village Christian Academy and Parrott Academy, who were also reclassified to 3A.

The impact of the move will be seen more in postseason play, where earning a state playoff berth will be more difficult in 3A. Additionally, changes to our out of conference schedules will take place.

Will we remain competitive?

We feel strongly that CFA will remain competitive in the regular season with conference and non-conference opponents. We will schedule enough 3A opponents to judge where we fall in the mix of 3A state competitions.

How about travel time and costs?

We will evaluate how the 2012-2013 school year goes with regards to travel, competitiveness, and overall benefits to our student athletes. We do not anticipate any additional costs in moving to 3A. There was some initial concern that we might have some additional travel to absorb with the move to 3A, but the reality is, we are already traveling all over the state for games.

While we may travel more during preseason before the actual start of school days, we will not see a major difference in travel once school starts. Our overnight trips will now be geared towards competing with 3A schools.

Please email Chris Meehl at cmeehl@capefearacademy.org with questions concerning your individual sport like fall sports (cross country, volleyball, girls’ tennis, field hockey, and boys’ soccer), winter sports (boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, cheerleading, and swimming), and spring sports (golf, track, girls’ soccer, boys’ tennis, girls’ lacrosse, and boys’ lacrosse).

Will this classification move affect academics?

Our move to 3A classification will not alter the academic foundation that you expect of CFA’s college preparatory curriculum. We have seen a big improvement with regards to class time missed by student athletes due to three important changes: (1) the adoption of the Upper School flex schedule, (2) our willingness to play out of town teams in the evening, and (3) our ability to schedule long trips on Friday nights. Through these changes, we have answered the concerns regarding missed class time, and the results have been very positive for our teachers and students.

What are the positive aspects of this move?

We will find that most of the schools we compete against in the 3A classification will be very similar to CFA in terms of mission and focus on academics. Our student athletes will be competing with students from schools that are considered on par academically with CFA, such as Ravenscroft School, Durham Academy, and Greensboro Day School. We feel that this will be a very positive challenge to our teams.

Additionally, our new facilities have helped attract more home games and will continue to allow visiting schools to appreciate coming to Cape Fear Academy. Our athletic facilities match up with some of those in the top NCISAA 3A schools in the state and will help make the transition easier.

The challenges of competing in a much larger pool of schools will mean that our perspective of what was a successful season will probably undergo some change. Certainly, in some sports, conference and state successes will be tougher to come by, but that doesn’t mean they will not come. While we will face tougher competition, we feel strongly that our kids will resolve to continue improving and striving to be the best they can possibly be. We feel that the relationships we will establish and the exposure we will receive from a wider competitive arena will strengthen our students’ experience.

As for running our athletic program, we will continue to seek improvement and the latest advancements in strength and conditioning, skill development, team building, strategies, and equipment upgrades.

Meeting/Coffee

We will hold an open meeting/coffee about this athletic move to 3A later in the spring. Our new Headmaster, Don Berger, will attend as well, as he has significant experience with 3A athletic competition at Cary Academy.

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