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Preliminary numbers are out, some South Sound schools will be reclassified

Post by Doug Pacey / The News Tribune on Nov. 30, 2009 at 2:18 pm with No Comments »
November 30, 2009 9:07 pm

Washington high schools will be reclassified on Jan. 4 and we could see some big changes that dramatically shift the high school sports landscape.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has released the preliminary numbers it uses for classifying schools. You can view the information here. However, these numbers are not final.

Fifty-nine schools are have elected to choose between wanting to compete in the classification their enrollment places them in or opting up to a larger classification. These schools must submit their decisions by Dec. 15. What these schools decide will greatly affect the “bubble” schools that have decided to compete in the classification they are placed in.

Here’s a list of South Sound schools on the “bubble.”

1A/2A bubble

2A/3A bubble
Bonney Lake

3A/4A bubble
Auburn Riverside
Mount Tahoma
Gig Harbor

It looks like the decisions of three leagues – Metro, Greater Spokane and Columbia Basin/Big Nine – will determine where the 2A/3A and 3A/4A bubble schools will be end up.

The biggest waves will be made when the Metro League schools decide what to do. Eleven Metro schools would be 1A or 2A, according to the preliminary numbers. All of those schools currently compete at the 3A level. If all 11 opt up to 3A, that will create a ripple effect that would force the schools listed at the bottom of preliminary numbers in 3A – Franklin Pierce, Sumner, Decatur, Bonney Lake and Wilson are among these schools – into being at the top end of 2A. However, Franklin Pierce, Decatur and Wilson all have until Dec. 15 to opt up, if they choose.

Here’s a link to what the GSL and CBBN schools might do.

Of those 59 schools that have the option to opt up by Dec. 15, 10 have already made the decision. Here they are:

Class 4A
Bellarmine Prep (2A)
Federal Way (3A)

Class 3A
Kennedy (2A)

Class 2A
Archbishop Murphy (1A)

Class 1A
LaSalle (2B)

Class 2B
Mount Vernon Christian
Pe Ell
Shoreline Christian
Willapa Valley

As for the Narrows League, member school officials have already decided that it will be a 3A/4A league. With that knowledge and the WIAA’s preliminary numbers, here’s how that league might look like in 2010-11:

4A schools
Mount Tahoma
Gig Harbor
Central Kitsap
Bellarmine Prep
South Kitsap

3A schools
North Thurston

I spoke with SPSL president Rick Wells on Monday and he said no schools have submitted a written request for league membership. If any schools are interested in joining, he said he expects the league will hear requests in January or February and have everything settled by March.

After examining the WIAA’a preliminary numbers, here are some possibilities:

— Mount Rainier, currently a 3A school in the Seamount, will be a 4A school. Joining the SPSL makes geographic sense for the Rams.

— Auburn Mountainview will be a 3A school, but the Lions might choose to opt up and join district rivals Auburn and Auburn Riverside in 4A.

— Sumner, Franklin Pierce, Decatur and Bonney Lake could all be 2A schools. I don’t expect Decatur to stay in 2A if that’s where the Gators are reclassified, but Sumner, Franklin Pierce and Bonney Lake are logical additions to the Nisqually League’s four 2A schools – Fife, Eatonville, Steilacoom and Washington.

Some other interesting pieces of information gleaned from the numbers:

— Nisqually League teams will no longer have to factor in Interlake for postseason play. The Saints will be 3A.

— Union, a 3A football power, will be 4A.

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