The 2A South Puget Sound League will carry the same name in the next school year.
Only it will jump from eight to 16 schools, and on Thursday school officials decided to split the league into two yet-to-be-named divisions.
One division: Evergreen of Seattle, Fife, Foss, Foster, Franklin Pierce, Lindbergh, Washington and White River.
The other: Clover Park, Eatonville, Highline, Orting, Renton, River Ridge, Steilacoom and Tyee.
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Those alignments are pending approval from school principals.
2A SPSL president Chris Gibson, the athletic director at White River High School, said the main goal was to share travel among the 16 schools. And officials agreed to split the six incoming schools from the Seamount League — which won’t exist next school year — between the two divisions.
“We had some really difficult decisions,” Gibson said. “It was tough to come to an agreement, so we tried to split up and share travel as best as we could.”
Gibson said the league will revisit the alignment after two years.
A priority was placing Eatonville in the same division as Orting, continuing a long-established rivalry.
Eatonville rejoins the league after moving down a classification to the 1A Nisqually League following the 2011-12 school year. It is currently a member of the 1A Evergreen Conference.
It also was important to keep Franklin Pierce and Washington (both part of the Franklin Pierce School District) together.
The Seamount schools were split based on strength and subvarsity depth of their athletic programs, Gibson said. Tyee does not have its own football program — it takes part with Mount Rainier High School.
“Nonvarsity teams are a huge part of what we do,” Gibson said. “In our own league we have had some struggles with programs not having (junior varsity) and C-teams. So we tried to look at it through a strength aspect — who has the best strength of programs?”
The expanded league comes as another step in a mass reshaping of the West Central District’s leagues ahead of the 2016-17 school year and the Washington State Interscholastic Activities Association’s newly implemented four-year classification cycle.
The district will add a new 16-school class 4A league (the 4A North Puget Sound League), and a one-division 4A SPSL (it currently has three divisions). The 4A Narrows League won’t exist.
In 3A, the 3A Narrows League and the 3A SPSL won’t exist. Instead, there will be an eight-school Pierce County League and an eight-school South Sound Conference.
In 2A, the Olympic League and SPSL will remain, but the Seamount won’t. Hazen and Kennedy Catholic will opt up to the 4A NPSL and the remaining six schools joined the 2A SPSL.
WEST CENTRAL DISTRICT REALIGNMENT
A look at how the West Central District’s 4A, 3A and 2A leagues will look next year
2A SOUTH PUGET SOUND LEAGUE
Evergreen of Seattle
3A PIERCE COUNTY LEAGUE
3A SOUTH SOUND CONFERNCE
4A NORTH PUGET SOUND LEAGUE
4A SOUTH PUGET SOUND LEAGUE