Taking a look at a major behind-the-scenes issue impacting both MSHS and CHS sports this school year – reclassification and realignment

A major issue behind the scenes impacting Mount Si and Cedarcrest High School’s athletic departments this school year is the issue of state high school sports reclassification, and resulting league realignment.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, the state high school sports’ governing body, is conduting student counts at all high schools in Washington state this fall, designed to help classify schools in various classes according to their student populations. The smallest schools will be in “B” classes on up to the largest schools competing in the “4A” class.

The classification announcement is also expected to shake up leagues around the state – we’ve already mentioned news on our Twitter feed this fall of one at the 2A level over in eastern Washington that could impact the state playoff landscape for Cedarcrest High School sports. And it is all of those moving parts that have caused administrators in the Kingco Conference to begin plans for what the league could look like next school year.

Kingco landscape not expected to change significantly
League athletic directors met about this topic October 21, according to minutes posted on the league website and which the SVSJ obtained. According to the numbers provided to the administrators, including Mount Si’s Darren Brown, by the conference, the makeup of the league looks to be status quo.

The primary item of note out of this was the dropping of all four Northshore schools – Bothell, North Creek, Inglemoor and Woodinville – out of 4A down to 3A, requiring all four to “opt up” in order to remain in the 4A classification. This has been expected by league administrators since North Creek opened three years ago in south Snohomish County between Bothell and Mill Creek to relieve student crowding at the other Northshore School District high schools, most notably Bothell. Aside from that, everything else remains pretty much the same, with six schools – including Mount Si – locked into the 4A classification, with the remainder all 3A.

What might result?: It has been mentioned to us in the past that the league’s current 2A and 3A schools, such schools as Bellevue, Interlake, Juanita, Mercer Island and Lake Washington, would prefer a full-on merge of the league meaning all schools could play one another in league competition. This, if it were to result in geographically-aligned divisions in most sports, could see Mount Si resume rivalries with such schools as MI and Liberty in league play. The 3A schools see a full-on merge as something that could help improve their programs’ preparation for postseason district tournaments, something which Kingco’s 3A division has struggled with in recent seasons in some sports.

But, there is also the possibility of keeping the two leagues split, in which case it would be expected the Northshore schools would all opt up and the league alignments which currently exist would remain such at least for the next couple of years.

How does this impact Cedarcrest?: It is way too early to tell at this point. As things currently stand, it’s very likely CHS, considering its relative success in most sports within the Wesco Conference, which they have been a part of for the past two seasons following the dissolution of the Cascade Conference, their former league, will be able to stay in the league, especially as it allows for the football team to play within the Northwest District’s consortium which was set up to allow for CHS to play like-sized schools in league play. However, a couple of issues cropped up this fall that could call into question future scheduling within that consortium.

First, there was the issue of league rival Anacortes High School not fielding a varsity football team this fall, due to low turnout for the team, then more recently, Bellingham High School, another league rival in football for CHS, having to forfeit its rivalry game with Sehome again for lack of available players, which could suggest trouble on the horizon numbers-wise for that school’s program. While the Northwest’s Lake Division was a solid league for CHS these past two seasons, the Anacortes situation – and that of Blaine, who was promoted this past offseason to the consortium’s higher-caliber Sky Division – resulted in there being only three league games for Cedarcrest.

Moving to Kingco, and a likely league schedule, could be more appealing for the school’s administration, especially with respect to the number of 3A schools they’d be able to play and perhaps beat improving the team’s computer RPI ranking, and also ensure stability in that league schedule moving forward. While playing Bellevue every year would be something that would not sit well with many at CHS, several other 3A schools in Kingco struggled this fall, and could be winnable games in coming seasons for the Red Wolves based on how their season went this fall were the school to move to Kingco.

The Wesco folks have not released minutes of their meetings similar to what Kingco has done, so it’s not clear as to what’s going to happen there.

What to look for: The numbers that have been released are preliminary numbers – the final numbers are not expected to be announced for a couple of more weeks at least then schools will have the ability to appeal their numbers and make other decisions, such as opting up, as a result, with final classification announcements expected sometime early in the new year. The classifications would be good for four years, meaning Mount Si will be a member of Kingco 4A for at least that period of time, and considering continued growth at the school, for many years after that. As for CHS, they are expected to remain a 2A school.

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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