Capital High School is a member of the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League — sort of.
“We’re down there — that’s where we are today,” said Olympia School District athletic director Jeff Carpenter.
Capital, a current member of the 3A Narrows League and District 3, was approved to join Southwest District 4 last week. That paved the way for membership to the 3A GSHL, which has no formal application process.
Carpenter and Capital athletic director Steve Bellande met with the GSHL on Tuesday to begin discussions about scheduling for the 2016-2017 school year. A tentative football schedule has already been laid out as if Capital were in the 3A GSHL — a league which is made up of schools mostly in the Vancouver, Washington, area.
But there’s a catch.
Carpenter and other officials met with more than 100 community members Tuesday night at Capital after concerns started surfacing from parents of student athletes about the relocation.
The main concerns parents had, which were addressed at the meeting, included travel expenses, travel time and time spent away from the classroom.
Carpenter said additional mileage traveling south will add an extra expense, and there is a possibility students could miss more class time, but administrators are trying to schedule around that.
Five of the six schools currently in the 3A GSHL are more than 100 miles from Capital.
Earlier this month, 11 Capital coaches were polled at a meeting with administrators. Seven of those coaches voted to join the 3A GSHL, and three wanted to stay in the 3A Narrows. One, football coach JD Johnson, abstained.
Johnson told the crowd he did not vote because he didn’t want the decision to be perceived to be about football.
“I am willing to support my administration, my coaches, my superintendent, Jeff Carpenter, Bellande — all of them — to see if we can make this work,” Johnson said Tuesday. “Give us a chance to see if we can make this work.”
The other option for Capital hinges on whether four Tacoma schools — Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, Wilson and Stadium — win their appeal to the West Central District on Wednesday to join the 3A SPSL.
Shelton and Central Kitsap, the other two schools remaining in the 3A Narrows, have also appealed.
Capital applied to the 3A SPSL twice, and was denied twice, before approaching the 3A GSHL.
Capital does not want to stay in the 3A Narrows because it is concerned the Tacoma schools, which are facing dwindling enrollment numbers, according to Carpenter, will attempt to drop to Class 2A in two years.
“The reason Steve and I went down there today is they’re starting to make schedules,” Carpenter said. “They have to get a football schedule done for fall and a (girls) soccer schedule done. … That’s the urgency of it, for scheduling those two sports.”
The lingering question of the evening continued to be, “Is it a done deal?”
Not quite. Carpenter said the 3A SPSL could still be an option if an invitation was extended.
“If Friday they make a decision accepting those schools and make an invitation to us, we’d have to consider,” Carpenter said. “That invitation would be considered very quickly.”