Bremen High School athletics will officially be moving down from Class AAA to AA at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.
During the GHSA's State Reclassification Committee Meeting in Thomaston on Monday, Bremen was approved of its waiver of Reclassification Attendance Zone Restriction, requiring a school to play in a classification higher than its FTE number indicates.
BHS Principal Tim Huff was pleased with the committee's decision to approve the school's waiver.
"We are excited about the move back to Class AA and are thankful GHSA gave us an opportunity to appeal," Huff told the Times-Georgian on Monday. "We will be playing schools with similar enrollment numbers as ours."
On hand for Bremen's 11:15 a.m. presentation at the GHSA offices on Monday were Huff, Bremen Superintendent of Schools David Hicks, BHS Assistant Principal Robert Dorch and Blue Devil head football coach Davis Russell.
Russell described the process of the appeal.
"They determined back in October that November 27th would be our appeal day," Russell said. "So we got everything together and was able to go down, along with some other schools, and present our case. (The committee) liked what they heard and moved us back into the classification where our numbers are."
After competing as a Class AA school from 2012-16, Bremen was bumped up to Class AAA as part of the GHSA's 2016 region realignment. With only 623 students, BHS found itself as the second-smallest school in the entire classification, only ahead of Atlanta-based private school Pace Academy at 451. Russell indicated a more leveling of the playing field with the move.
"We'll still be one of the smaller schools in our region, but we won't be outnumbered by 300-400 kids," Russell said.
On top of competing against similar schools, the move from Region 6-AAA to Region 5-AA will allow athletes across all Blue Devil sports teams to renew old rivalries with a pair of local schools in Heard County and Temple.
"Heard County will be a great rival and with Temple, all of our kids know all of their kids and have competed against one another," Russell said. "It's good to be able to renew those games, for sure."
Bremen's winter and spring sports will continue as normal in Class AAA for the remainder of the school year before the school makes the official transition during the summer. After testing themselves against bigger programs for two years, coaches across the board at BHS are glad to be heading back to familiar territory.
"It's great for all of our sports," Russell said. "Our kids have fought their butts off for the last couple of years against schools that outnumbered them and so now we're back where we're supposed to be."