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The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released the first draft of the new 2021 realignment for over 400 member schools on Thursday, and the five Lincoln County high schools were spread into three different conferences.

East Lincoln and North Lincoln, who will both move up to the 3A classification in the fall of 2021, will play in a projected eight-team, all 3A league with Hickory, North Iredell, St. Stephens, Statesville and West Iredell.

With the Mustangs and Knights having seven conference games, the schools would be able to schedule three games out of the league, two of which would likely be Lincolnton and West Lincoln.

The Wolves and the Rebels would see some familiar faces if the first draft of the new realignment holds.

Lincolnton and West Lincoln are projected to be in a seven-team all 2A conference with Catawba County neighbors Maiden, Bandys, Newton-Conover and Bunker Hill. The seventh team in the newly formed conference would be East Burke.

With seven schools in the league, the Wolves and Rebels would be able to add four non-conference games to their schedule, two of which would likely be East Lincoln and North Lincoln.

Lincoln Charter, who is moving up to play in the 2A classification, is projected to play in a 1A/2A split league.

The Eagles would play against 2A opponents Community School of Davidson and Pine Lake Prep, and would be joined by 1A members Christ the King, Langtree Charter, Mountain Island Charter and Piedmont Community School.

The seven-team conference would give Lincoln Charter six league contests, allowing them to schedule four out-of-conference games.

The member schools have until January 8 to appeal their conference affiliation to the NCHSAA, and the Association hopes to have the second draft out on January 14, 2020. (Published December 11, 2020)

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