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East Bladen, West Bladen in 10-team conference in 2nd NCHSAA realignment draft plan

East Bladen and West Bladen high schools currently are members of the nine-school Three Rivers 2-A/1-A Conference.

If the the NC High School Athletic Association’s second realignment draft plan released Thursday is passed, the two Bladen County will be in an all 2-A 10-school conference. The four Columbus County schools — Whiteville, East Columbus, South Columbus and West Columbus — will be replaced by Clinton, East Duplin, James Kenan, Midway and Wallace-Rose Hill.

It’s a dramatic change from the first draft of the state’s four-year realignment plan that will begin with the 2021-22 academic year.

Under the first draft released Dec. 10, East Bladen and West Bladen were placed in a split 2-A/1-A conference with Fairmont, Red Springs and St. Pauls along with 1-A members Lakewood and Union.

Schools have until Jan. 21 to appeal the second draft.

A third realignment draft is scheduled to be released Feb. 4.

The final realignment plan is expected to be announced in March.

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