FAIRMONT -- Nearly three weeks after Fairmont Senior narrowly missed being bumped up from Class AA to Class AAA across the entirety of the state's prep sports stage, the Polar Bears, along with fellow county teams East Fairmont and North Marion, will indeed be heading to Class AAA in basketball next season as part of the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission's new four-class, two-year trial run system for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years
Each of East Fairmont, Fairmont Senior and North Marion will compete in Class AAA next season in both boys' and girls' basketball. All three county schools were expected to make the jump to Class AAA in the new four-class system, which was officially approved by the State Board of Education in July.
Many previous Class AA schools will level up to Class AAA as well, with the bulk of Class AAA schools moving up to Class AAAA. Bridgeport, which moved from Class AA to Class AAA in all sports three weeks ago when Fairmont Senior barely avoided the same jump based on WVSSAC enrollment numbers, will go up two levels next season as a Class AAAA program.
The WVSSAC will release new sectional and regional alignments across all four classes at a later date.
The new classifications formula, which is based mostly on school enrollment but also takes into account socioeconomic factors and a school's proximity to a county seat, caused the most shake up in the Class A and Class AA ranks, with much of it centered on private schools. Each of Trinity, Notre Dame, Charleston Catholic, Parkersburg Catholic, St. Joseph Central and Wheeling Central will move up to Class AA.