AAA Central Region
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The Central Region was one of the four AAA regions in the Virginia High School League until 2013. It was made up of four districts: the AAA Capital District, the AAA Central District, the AAA Colonial District, and the AAA Dominion District. Group AAA was the largest enrollment class for VHSL schools, and typically AAA is the most competitive level as well. In 2013, the three classification format was eliminated in favor of a six classification system. Accordingly, the Central Region was eliminated, while the districts were retained for regular season competition.
The Central Region comprises most of the public schools in the Greater Richmond Region, including public schools from Richmond City, Chesterfield County, Henrico County, Hanover County, Dinwiddie County and Prince George County as well as the independent cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg.
Though AAA schools in Virginia are supposed to be around 1,500 students or larger, a considerable amount of schools in the Central Region are below this size and petition to play up in Group AAA. In fact out of the 32 Central Region member schools, 13 are Group AA size, and one is Group A size. Usually, the VHSL accepts petitions from schools that choose to do this. While members that play up to AAA usually have enrollments close to the AA/AAA cutoff, schools such as Colonial Heights High School and Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond City enroll under 1,000 students. Indeed, Maggie Walker Governor's School is at around 600 and would be classified in Group A if they did not petition to play up.
The main reason why these schools play in AAA is to play with district schools that are nearby, rather than drive out farther away to play similarly sized schools. However, the region has enough AA sized members to create two AA districts (except for Maggie Walker) made up of smaller sized Central Region schools. Though it is not considered a "hot" issue at the moment, some VHSL officials are not particularly pleased with the fact that many schools in the Central Region that are small AA size or smaller continue to play up in AAA. This to some degree has caused Group AA to be the smallest group of the three classes (A schools tend to stay in Group A and not play up), and AAA to be the largest. This has also caused crowding in the AAA Eastern Region, which currently has 39 schools, only five of which have elected to play up.