Some leagues want balance, others seek familiar opponents

todd.milles@thenewstribune.comJanuary 8, 2014 

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association completed its reclassification process for every high school in the state of Washington on Tuesday.

And those official reclassification enrollment numbers are expected to be released to school administrators Wednesday morning.

For most schools, it means staying in a familiar league. For others, it means rejoining a previous league or finding a new league based on a jump or fall in reclassification starting with the 2014-15 school year.

Here are highlighted points involving leagues in the

South Sound:

 • Keeping same-district schools together won out over divisional balance in the South Puget Sound League 4A.

The four schools in the Federal Way School District and Kent School District will comprise eight of the 10 teams in the SPSL North, joining Mount Rainier and Tahoma.

The SPSL South will have only seven schools — the trio of Puyallup School District schools, the three Bethel School District schools and Curtis.

“People are going to look at the 10 (SPSL North schools) and seven (SPSL South schools) and go, ‘What is wrong (with) those guys?’” said SPSL 4A football commissioner Dave Lutes, who is also the athletic director for the Kent School District. “Keeping multi-district schools in the same (division) was important. Federal Way has been split up in the past three different ways, and that isn’t fair to those schools. We recognize that.”

For football, the SPSL North will be split into two mini-divisions — with the Federal Way schools and Mount Rainier playing one another, and the Kent schools and Tahoma grouped together. Then in Week 9, they will hold crossover games to determine the division’s overall seeding for the playoffs.

 • Make no mistake, right up until Tuesday morning, administrators were nervous about the Narrows League.

That is because Stadium, Gig Harbor and Timberline were right on the classification line between being a 4A or 3A school.

But at their league athletic directors’ meeting Tuesday, the dust settled — both Narrows 4A and Narrows 3A will have seven teams, with the only change being Timberline moving from 3A to 4A and Central Kitsap dropping from 4A to 3A.

“Because you didn’t know where the cutoff line was going to be, there was a big concern about the viability of a 4A (Narrows) division,” Bellarmine Prep athletic director Ed Ploof said. “And based on what our greatest fears were, this is a pretty positive outcome for the league.”

 • On the surface, it appears Eatonville — a Nisqually League 1A member the past two seasons — is making the most radical move of any school in the area by joining the Southwest Washington Evergreen 1A.

It was a move that the school board and administration, including athletic director George Fairhart, began taking a look at more than a year ago.

The Cruisers will now be in a league that includes Elma, Forks, Hoquiam, Montesano and Tenino.

“It’s about the same or less travel,” Fairhart said. “Those schools are more like us — schools that represent their communities. And there are more junior varsity teams for us to compete against.”

 • If Eatonville’s move is approved by both current (Nisqually 1A in West Central District III) and future (Southwest Evergreen 1A in District IV) parties, that would create an opportunity for River Ridge to bolt the Evergreen 2A Conference and join the SPSL 2A.

In case of that scenario, all three high schools in the North Thurston School District (Timberline, North Thurston, River Ridge) would become West Central District III members.

The SPSL 2A has maintained its preference of having an even number of schools, and left a final spot open for Eatonville in case it missed the reclassification cut at 1A and was bumped up to 2A.

2014-16 HIGH SCHOOL LEAGUE ALIGNMENTS

For the next two-year reclassification cycle, starting in 2014-15, here are the area’s projected a league realignments:

SPSL NORTH (4A)

Decatur

Federal Way

Jefferson

Kent-Meridian

Kentlake

Kentridge

Kentwood

Mount Rainier

Tahoma

Beamer

SPSL SOUTH (4A)

Bethel

Curtis

Emerald Ridge

Graham-Kapowsin

Puyallup

Rogers

Spanaway Lake

NARROWS 4A

Bellarmine Prep

Gig Harbor

Olympia

South Kitsap

Stadium

Timberline

Yelm

SPSL 3A

Auburn

Auburn Mountain-view

Auburn Riverside

Bonney Lake

Enumclaw

Lakes

Peninsula

Sumner

NARROWS 3A

Central Kitsap

Foss

Lincoln

Mount Tahoma

North Thurston

Shelton

Wilson

SPSL 2A

Clover Park

Fife

Franklin Pierce

Orting

River Ridge

Steilacoom

Washington

White River

NISQUALLY 1A

Bellevue Christian

Cascade Christian

Charles Wright Academy

Seattle Christian

Vashon Island

SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON EVERGREEN 1A

Eatonville

Elma

Forks

Hoquiam

Montesano

Tenino

Undecided: Capital in 3A; Aberdeen, Black Hills, Centralia

Tumwater, Rochester and W.F. West in 2A; Chimacum, Klahowya and Port Townsend in 1A; Chief Leschi, Life Christian Academy and Tacoma Baptist in 2B.

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@thenewstribune.com todd.milles@ thenewstribune.com mwochnick@ theolympian.com

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