Lincoln County schools have had homes in new conferences determined by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s realignment committee since May.
Now those conferences have names.
Lincolnton, East Lincoln and West Lincoln are joining a 2A conference with Bandys, Bunker Hill, Maiden, Newton-Conover and West Caldwell with a familiar moniker — the Southern District 7.
“This was the old conference from the 60s and 70s — the old SD7,” Lincolnton head football coach and athletic director Scott Cloninger said. “It’s really the same schools now that were in there then. That’s one of the reasons we went back and named it that.”
The new conference may offer tougher competition than local teams faced in the split 1A/2A Southern Piedmont Conference for the last four years.
“If you come out of this league in any sport you ought to be very well prepared for tournament play and the playoffs,” Cloninger said. “Every one of these schools brings something to the table in different sports.”
North Lincoln is joining the North Piedmont Conference, a split 3A/4A group including North Iredell, South Iredell, Statesville, West Iredell, Alexander Central (4A), Lake Norman (4A) and Mooresville (4A).
The Southern Piedmont Conference isn’t disappearing entirely. The three of the conference’s four current 1A members (Bessemer City, Cherryville and Highland Tech) are being joined by Community School of Davidson, Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, Pine Lake Prep and Lincoln Charter in a straight 1A conference.