by Aaron Garcia
When the N.C. High School Athletic Association held its biannual meeting in early May, the Cuthbertson High School community received some not-so-surprising-yet-welcomed news: The Cavs’ growing student enrollment would allow the program to move from its current 2A classification into a 3A conference with neighbors Marvin Ridge and Weddington, as well as Sun Valley, Piedmont and Anson. The move is slated to begin in the fall of 2013.
Since opening in 2009, Cuthbertson has played in the Rocky River 1A/2A conference with Monroe, Forest Hills, Piedmont, Central Academy of Technology & Arts, Union Academy, West Stanly and North Stanly.
“I think everyone was eager and anticipating it,” said Mike Barfield, Cuthbertson’s interim athletics director.
Barfield took over for Mike Roark, who stepped aside earlier this year to focus on his football-coaching duties and his family.
Barfield said that aside from the school’s growing population, its widespread success in several sports will make it a good fit on the 3A level. Despite only being open for three years, Cuthbertson has already won a state title in girls soccer (2011) and advanced to the state championship game in boys basketball this winter.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” said Barfield. “That’s not going to make it easy when we get to 3A, but I still feel like we’re in a natural maturation (process) where we’re moving forward, which is where we want to go with all of our athletics.”
The move brings obvious advantages, starting with proximity. The Cuthbertson campus is fewer than six miles from Marvin Ridge and just 3.8 miles from Weddington. Those are the two schools which figure to be the Cavs’ main rivals in their new conference. While members of the Rocky River, Cuthbertson had to travel to Monroe to face its nearest in-conference rivals Monroe High, Union Academy and CATA.
Cuthbertson rival Piedmont also will make the jump from 2A to 3A. The programs have cemented a heated rivalry in several sports, which should continue well into their current realignment plan. It also gives both programs a sounding board during the transition, said Roark.
“I think that’s going to be helpful,” Roark said.
While the enrollment numbers could change in the future, Barfiled thinks the Cavs have found a permanent home – or at least a permanent set of neighbors.
“We’d like to foresee us being members of this conference for years to come,” Barfield said.