The change in sports districts brings high hopes for future seasons


Photo by: Rodney Alston

Larry Wesley (23) and the rest of Hayfield defense celebrates a forced fumble at the Hayfield vs Falls Church game.

Brianna Jones, Staff Writer

Friday light nights burn bright, the cheers of the fans echo across the stadium, the band is playing the school anthem, football players run onto the field… but who is Hayfield playing? It was a shock to most students and athletes this year to see games against a roster of schools that we don’t normally play. This change isn’t just for fall sports, but sports the rest of the year. So why the change in districts?

“[The] Virginia High School League (VHSL) changes things up periodically, it’s not our choice,” assistant director of student activities Jeffrey Herbert said.

The redrawing of district lines isn’t uncommon, it happens every five-seven years (the last time we changed districts was 2016). This year, Hayfield went from the Gunston District to the National District, so instead of having 5 schools in the district, there are 8.

 When asked if this change in districts is beneficial, staff agreed that this is a good change for Hayfield.

“We lost two schools and gained three schools that are more comparable to us…we are going to benefit immensely,” Herbert said.

For example, Hayfield lost one of its biggest opponents, Alexandria City High School (ACHS) (formerly called T.C Williams). ACHS has 4,000-5,000 high school students (according to VHSL) while Hayfield has a little over 2,000. This has always put them at a bigger advantage than Hayfield because they have more athletes to choose from when making teams. Now, Hayfield is playing teams like Justice and Lewis High School, which have a similar sized student body. 

Some Coaches agree with Herbert’s optimism that the change in districts will benefit the teams. 

“We felt like going into every single game this year we had a pretty legit chance at winning, which I couldn’t have said for years past always,” Varsity Field Hockey Coach and History teacher Jamie Austin said.  

When asked if the change in districts has benefited or harmed the football team, many players were optimistic. 

 “I think it all depends on the perspective that you can look at it,” Senior Varsity football player Larry Wesley III said. “It has helped us get an advantage against some teams because a lot of the schools are smaller…it puts us up against more fair opponents… people that are on the level that we are on right now.” 

It’s safe to say that the majority of Hawks are optimistic about the change in districts, and football is just one example of the positive outcomes that came from this major change. Football has seen an overall improvement from going from 1-6 last year, to 5-5 this year. But having this confidence boost shouldn’t stop teams from trying their hardest every game.

 “At the end of the day no matter who we’re facing, you gotta have the mindset that you’re gonna go out there and win,” Wesley said.