More on our discussion from this morning about new WIAA reclassification rules and their potential impact on Mount Si High School and Kingco Conference

We have some more now on our discussion earlier regarding yesterday’s vote by Washington state’s high school sports governing body on how schools will be classified for high school sports.

Earlier, and you can see the full story below if you want to read more, we told you that the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Representative Assembly, at its so-called “Winter Coalition” meeting in Renton, voted to establish hard counts to determine classification, with a school’s count of students in free and reduced lunch programs being a factor in establishing those hard count numbers for schools to make those classification decisions.

Mount Si High School head cross country coach Sean Sundwall did an analysis of what that could mean for both his school and the Kingco Conference, and he shared his findings with us this morning. His analysis, based on the current numbers, showed that there is the possibility of some expansion and other changes within Kingco 4A. But it’s one of those possibilities that could raise some significant eyebrows.

Sundwall’s analysis indicated that, again based on the current numbers, there is a chance that three Seattle schools – Ballard, Roosevelt and Garfield – could end up above the new 4A cutoff line of 1,300 students in grades 9-11. It should be noted, however, that, sometime this fall, a new count will be instituted and it will be from that count that the classifications are decided, so after the smoke clears and it’s determined how free and reduced lunch numbers impact that count, it’s very possible those three schools could still end up as 3A schools and remain as members of the Metro League. But if his analysis holds and those three schools end up as 4A’s, this could present a dilemma for Seattle school officials – whether to work those schools into the current Metro setup as 4A members or have those schools once again become part of Kingco 4A.

These three schools, from the late 1990’s up until several years ago, before MSHS became part of Kingco 4A, were Kingco 4A members, and while relations between those schools and the Eastside schools were for the most part cordial, there were some high-profile incidents that did, at times, make the overall relationship challenging. Chief among those was a 2009 fracas involving players and fans of Garfield and Redmond High Schools at a boys’ basketball game at RHS, an incident which received significant attention in local media at the time.

If it comes to pass that the Seattle schools might have to look at Kingco membership, it is likely such a move would face opposition from some quarters on the Seattle side with concerns about possible similar issues flaring up in the future based on the past issues we just mentioned perhaps being the biggest factor. It should also be noted that Sundwall’s analysis also suggests possible moves up for both Lake Washington and possibly Interlake High Schools, both current Kingco 3A members, and three Northshore schools – Bothell, Woodinville and North Creek, all of whom are currently part of Kingco 4A – all having to move down to 3A, something which has been long rumored with the opening of North Creek prior to last school year. Essentially, a lot of what Sundwall saw in his analysis will only add fuel to the notion of a possible full Kingco merger of their 2A and 3A schools with their 4A ones, and that is something that is expected to perhaps continue to take shape as the year progresses.

From a coaching perspective, Sundwall is hoping that whatever comes to pass, his program will have the best possible chance of success. “As a head coach, I am open to any system that better ensures the best athletes make it to the State Championships. Under the current allocation system, at least in track and cross country, very strong leagues like Kingco are penalized. This results in top athletes from Kingco missing out on state,” he told us by email. “By getting 69+ or 89+ schools into 4A, more allocations would come and the likelihood of the best athletes making it to state increases.” He added, “My hope is that the new system will minimize the up and down movement within the classifications.”

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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