Three of Loudoun County's 17 public high schools will change classifications for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years under the Virginia High School League's recommended mid-cycle alignment plan.
Based on expected student enrollment figures, Freedom will move from Class 5 to Class 6, Rock Ridge will join Class 4 from Class 5 and second-year Independence will rise from Class 3 to Class 4. Loudoun's other 14 high schools will continue in their current classifications.
The VHSL places schools in six classifications -- ranging from Class 1 for the smallest student populations to Class 6 for the largest -- and crowns state champions in each classification for most varsity sports. A range of two-to-four state champions are crowned in sports -- field hockey, gymnastics and lacrosse -- where some Virginia high schools do not field a team.
Loudoun will be represented by first-year Lightridge in Class 3, Broad Run, Dominion, Heritage, Independence, Loudoun County, Loudoun Valley, Park View, Rock Ridge and Tuscarora in Class 4, Briar Woods, Potomac Falls, Riverside, Stone Bridge and Woodgrove in Class 5, and Freedom and John Champe in Class 6.
Local schools will compete in one of three districts, with the Dulles District and the Potomac District consisting solely of Loudoun teams. Freedom and John Champe will join Battlefield, Gainesville, Osbourn, Osbourn Park, Patriot and Unity Reed in the Cedar Run District.
The Dulles District will include Broad Run, Dominion, Heritage, Independence, Lightridge, Loudoun County, Loudoun Valley, Park View, Rock Ridge and Tuscarora, while the Potomac District will consist of Briar Woods, Potomac Falls, Riverside, Stone Bridge and Woodgrove.
The lone sticking point prior to finalizing the mid-cycle alignment plan is based on the large number of schools in Region B of Class 4. With schools placed in regions based on geography, Region 4B will consist of 21 schools under the new plan while Region 4D will only have eight schools. Region 4C -- which includes nine Loudoun schools -- is set to have 16 schools and Region 4A will include 13 schools.
All four regions in each of the VHSL's six classification are represented by one or two schools -- depending on the sport -- in the state playoffs. With the imbalance in Class 4, a Region 4D team will have an easier road to the state playoffs compared to a Region 4B team, or even a Region 4C or Region 4A team.
Classifications for Loudoun schools
Broad Run (Class 4, Region 4C)
Briar Woods (Class 5, Region 5D)
Dominion (Class 4, Region 4C)
Freedom (Class 6, Region 6B)
Heritage (Class 4, Region 4C)
Independence (Class 4, Region 4C)
John Champe (Class 6, Region 6B)
Lightridge (Class 3, Region 3B)
Loudoun County (Class 4, Region 4C)
Loudoun Valley (Class 4, Region 4C)
Park View (Class 4, Region 4C)
Potomac Falls (Class 5, Region 5D)
Riverside (Class 5, Region 5D)
Rock Ridge (Class 4, Region 4C)
Stone Bridge (Class 5, Region 5D)
Tuscarora (Class 4, Region 4C)
Woodgrove (Class 5, Region 5D)
Cedar Run District