Reclassification leads to travel changes

Published 4:39 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Vincent Yellow Jackets are one of the teams that will have to travel the farthest in football, basketball and baseball in the 2016-18 reclassification. (File)

The Vincent Yellow Jackets are one of the teams that will have to travel the farthest in football, basketball and baseball in the 2016-18 reclassification. (File)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

There are a ton of angles to this whole reclassification thing. The redistribution of classes and areas means certain teams will have a tougher regular season and early-round playoff road than others in different sports, but one element easily overlooked in this process is travel. The AHSAA naturally tries to group clusters of teams as close together as possible when creating regions and areas, but the way the geography breaks down, some teams are going to be more susceptible to putting more miles on the bus than others are. Here’s a look at who will be traveling the most and least in the county from 2016-18 for football, basketball and baseball.


There are five teams in the county that have, on average, an hour or more separating them from each of their region mates. They are Pelham, Helena, Calera, Montevallo and Vincent.

Pelham and Helena, both of which will be in the new 6A Region 3, are both right at an hour away from each of the other teams in their region on average. The two teams themselves are only separated by 12 minutes, and are roughly 25 minutes away from fellow county and region opponent Chelsea. However, both are more than two hours away from Opelika, roughly an hour-and-a-half away from Benjamin Russell, and more than an hour away from Wetumpka as well. When the Panthers and Huskies are away from home, it will be a boom-or-bust situation with travel time.

Montevallo and Vincent, on the other hand, have a tougher deal. The Bulldogs and the Yellow Jackets both are, on average, an hour and 18 minutes away from every other school in their regions. The closest school to Montevallo is Midfield, which is a 51-minute drive away.

Both Oak Mountain and Spain Park of the new 7A Region 3 have the quickest travel time between schools. Taking out Tuscaloosa County High School, the Eagles and Jaguars are less than half an hour away from every other school in their region and are, on average, just 27 minutes away from the other teams in Region 3.



While Pelham, Helena and Chelsea will have hit-or-miss travel for football, that will not be the case for basketball or baseball. The three 6A schools in the county are in an area all by themselves, and the farthest distance between any of these two is roughly 25 minutes.

Oak Mountain and Spain Park will also have one of the shortest total travel distances in basketball and baseball as well as in football. The two schools, both in the new 7A Area 6, are within a half an hour from every school in their area, which includes each other, Mountain Brook and Huffman.

Montevallo and Vincent will once again be burning the most rubber during basketball and baseball season as well. The Bulldogs are roughly an hour and 15 minutes away from each of their area mates, which are Montgomery Academy, Prattville Christian and Southside-Selma. Vincent is in just a three-team area with Ranburne and Woodland for basketball, and both of those schools are more than an hour and 20 minutes away from the Yellow Jackets home base. In baseball, Vincent does add Fayetteville in addition to both Ranburne and Woodland, which gives the Yellow Jackets an area opponent that is less than a half hour away.