TSSAA classification series, Part 2: Changes big for some fall sports teams

Douglas Fritz • Jun 28, 2017 at 7:30 AM

League schedules are going to look different when the 2017-18 school year arrives for area high school athletics.

This is Part 2 of a four-part series that will take a look at the new conference setups, and what Northeast Tennessee teams are facing in the TSSAA’s new alignment. When nearly all of the private schools moved to Division II, it caused a statewide change in the public-school division, even all the way down to the district level.

Part 2: Fall sports other than football


Boys and Girls

Dividing schools into two equal divisions for this sport means a great deal for a school like University High.

Of the 11 teams that finished ahead of the Buccaneers’ boys team in last year’s state meet, eight are now in the large-school or private-school divisions.

On the girls’ side, only two of the eight teams that finished ahead of UH at the state now compete in the small-school division.


It’s a different world for the Buccaneers — just like it will be for Greeneville, Elizabethton, Sullivan East and others who must now compete in the large division with the likes of Daniel Boone, Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett.



Class A, District 1

University High, Happy Valley, Hampton, Chuckey-Doak, West Greene

University High and Chuckey-Doak will still have each other to deal with, but Greeneville and Elizabethton are no longer part of the postseason equation.

Also gone from the sectional road are Grace Christian, Christian Academy of Knoxville and Knox Catholic. Rockwood, which beat CAK last year in the region, remains in the mix.


Reaching the state tournament could become more of a realistic goal for University High.

Class AA, District 1

Elizabethton, Unicoi County, Sullivan South

Sullivan Central, Volunteer, Greeneville

Elizabethton finds itself in a bigger league, which includes two-time defending Class A-AA state champion Greeneville.


With Greeneville in the district neighborhood and Knox Catholic still in the sectional mix, the road to the state tournament looks perilous at best for Elizabethton, Unicoi and other locals.

Class AAA, District 1

Science Hill, Daniel Boone, David Crockett

Dobyns-Bennett, Tennessee High

It’s a smaller league, but still belongs to the Lady Hilltoppers, Indians and Vikings.


Knox Bearden’s move into District 2 should liven up the region quite a bit. The sectional still contains Farragut, Oak Ridge and Maryville.



Class A, District 1

Happy Valley, Sullivan North, North Greene

South Greene, Hancock County

Despite moving up in other sports, South Greene remains at the lowest level volleyball.


The only team that managed to keep South Greene from a state title last year was Goodpasture Christian, which is now in the Division II ranks. The Lady Rebels may not get much resistance locally.

Class AA, District 1

Elizabethton, Johnson County, Unicoi County, Sullivan East

Sullivan South, Sullivan Central, Chuckey-Doak

It’s a seven-team league, and the competition level looks fairly strong.


South and Greeneville (District 2) should be among the toughest teams in the region. Unfortunately for both of them, defending state champion Knox Catholic managed to retain a Class AA classification.

Class AAA, District 1

Science Hill, Daniel Boone, David Crockett

Tennessee High, Dobyns-Bennett, Volunteer

It’s the usual grouping with a true Big Seven — make that Big Six — conference feel.


Dobyns-Bennett and Boone are among the top programs. Knox Farragut, Hardin Valley and Oak Ridge likely await at the sectional level.



Boys and Girls

Things are divided into a small and large division.

District 1 in the small division houses University High, Happy Valley, Hampton, Unaka, Johnson County, Sullivan North and Chuckey-Doak.

In the large group, it’s an 11-team district with Science Hill, Daniel Boone, David Crockett, Elizabethton, Sullivan East, Unicoi County, Sullivan Central, Sullivan South, Dobyns-Bennett, Tennessee High and Volunteer.


It’s going to be really tough year in year out for Elizabethton, Sullivan East and Unicoi County to compete with the likes of Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett. And Sullivan South’s state-level performance in Class A-AA will be extremely tough to duplicate.

Just getting one individual to the region will take quite an effort for the boys or the girls from the schools that previously competed in Class A-AA.

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