Way back in February, I wrote this story about the Narrows League taking on a new look, with new teams and the possibility of becoming a 3A/4A conference. That day is coming.
Four schools – Capital, North Thurston, Timberline and Yelm – have applied and been granted admission into the Narrows League. All four are 3A schools, which means, as the earlier story indicated, the Narrows League will become a multi-classification conference. If no other schools join, the league will have 15 schools.
Any changes will take effect beginning next fall.
I spoke with a Narrows League school athletic director last week and he said a committee had been formed to determine how or if the league will be divided – by classification or geography.
Dividing by geography will be tricky. Six schools – Bellarmine Prep, Foss, Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, Stadium and Wilson – reside in Tacoma and I don’t think the TSD schools will want to be in different divisions. Six others – Capital, North Thurston, Olympia, Shelton and Yelm – are in Thurston County. That leaves Gig Harbor, Central Kitsap and South Kitsap, and all three are closer to Tacoma than Thurston County, so dividing into simple North and South divisions would create one division with nine schools and another with six.
Dividing by classification does the same thing, one division with nine schools and another with six. This assumes that Yelm will be reclassified as a 4A school and Gig Harbor will not “opt up” to 4A. If the Tides chose to remain in 4A, that would make it incredibly difficult to create divisions by classification.
Currently, four Narrows League schools – Bellarmine Prep, Gig Harbor, Lincoln and Wilson – “opt up” to Class 4A, but that total could increase when the 2010-12 enrollment counts are released in December. The jump is not that big for the Tides; they are the classified as the largest 3A school in the state. Bellarmine Prep has not had much difficulty competing in 4A; the Lions are a perennial contender for the All-Sports Trophy. But, from talking to Tacoma School District superintendent Art Jarvis at the meeting in February, I’d wager that any TSD school classified in 3A, will compete in 3A.
Yelm, which is currently the fifth-largest 3A school, could be reclassified into 4A.
There are other options, however, and the league is exploring them. The league could forgo divisions altogether. There are enough contests in every sport but football to accommodate round-robin schedules for a 15-school league. For football, teams could play “league” games against those in the same classification.
Plenty still to be decided and we won’t know everything until December, when the enrollment counts for the 2010-12 cycle will be released.