published Friday, November 16th, 2012

Stephen Hargis: Chattanooga loses its last prep state event

The news from Thursday's TSSAA board of control meeting was expected but still disappointing for the Chattanooga area. During an all-day session, the two bits of news that directly affected this area were the approval of the proposed district alignments for the next four years and the vote to award Murfreesboro the right to host the girls' state soccer tournament for two years.

Most area football coaches have vented in recent weeks over the likelihood of keeping the six-classification playoff format and the current district alignments that go with it. The board voted to keep the proposed districts as they are, and that didn't sit well with the coaches in District 5-A and District 5-AA, which will have just four and five teams, respectively.

That means Boyd-Buchanan, Copper Basin, Grace Academy and Silverdale Baptist in 5-A; Loudon, McMinn Central, Polk County, Sequoyah and Sweetwater in 5-AA; and Lookout Valley, Marion County, South Pittsburg and Whitwell in 6-A will continue to have a difficult time filling their nonleague football schedules against like-sized opponents.

The new district alignments will remain in place for four years, although TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress has said the state's prep sports governing body likely will review the system in two years.

Also, the board voted to move the girls' state soccer tournament to Murfreesboro beginning next fall. That will mark the first time since 1996 that Chattanooga has not hosted that event, and it means the Scenic City no longer hosts any state championship events.

One by one, Chattanooga has lost hosting rights for state tournaments in wrestling, volleyball and the five-sport Spring Fling event through the years -- and now girls' soccer, which was the last state tournament that wasn't held in the mid-state.

Besides hosting the Spring Fling and volleyball state tournaments, Murfreesboro also hosts the boys' and girls' state basketball tournaments, while wrestling is held in Franklin, bowling is in Smyrna, cross country is in Nashville and football is in Cookeville.

In other news from Thursday's meeting, the board voted to reduce the Division II traditional wrestling tournament's number of participants from 16 to 8 beginning in 2014.

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...

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