State high school sports classifications approved for next school year; what does this mean perhaps for local high schools?

Time now to discuss one of the things from the WIAA that will impact both Mount Si and Cedarcrest High School sports starting this fall.

The state’s high school sports governing body approved new classifications for schools and their sports programs yesterday, returning to a format of hard numbers to determine classifications, replacing a percentage-based format that saw a certain percentage of schools be assigned to the various divisions based on student populations. Additionally, the association this year has also factored free and reduced-lunch counts into the numbers; neither Mount Si or Cedarcrest’s numbers were impacted by that factor.

As expected, both schools will remain in their current classifications (Mount Si in 4A and Cedarcrest in 2A). Here’s a look at what Valley high school sports fans might see as a result of the changes.

Mount Si: Mount Si and the Kingco 4A will remain intact with one exception – Newport High School was among those schools to apply for permission to drop a classification for football, and that was granted. The Knights will no longer play the Wildcats in football but will continue to play as a Kingco 4A team in other sports. The Northshore School District schools – Bothell, Inglemoor, North Creek and Woodinville – all were slotted in as 3A schools but all four schools chose to opt up and remain in the 4A classification to keep the Kingco 4A intact.

The current bi-district playoff situation could be impacted, though, as Wesco’s 4A league is expected to drop to just five schools, with the drop of Cascade and Monroe to 3A and the likely exit of Mount Vernon to the Northwest Conference. This could open a possibility for a merger of those five schools with the remaining Kingco schools to potentially create a 14 or 15-school league depending on sport.

Hazen, a school applying for Kingco membership, will be slotted as a 3A. They had been a 4A and the Renton school would have become part of the Kingco 4A had they remained such in the classification count and been approved for league membership.

Cedarcrest: While it continues to be expected that they’ll have a home in Wesco if they want it, the conference’s number of 3A teams will grow with the additions of Monroe and Cascade from the 4A league and the bump-up of Mountlake Terrace from 2A to 3A. This could force the conference to ask CHS to look elsewhere. As we have discussed, the Kingco has been approached by the Renton, Highline and Tukwila school districts about their high schools in large measure becoming league members. In addition to Hazen, as described above, the other six schools applying were all slotted as 2A’s – Renton, Lindbergh, Highline, Evergreen, Foster and Tyee. Sammamish, a current 2A Kingco, will remain as such and Interlake was granted permission to drop to 2A for football. So if the expansion is approved and Kingco forms a 2A league, it’s extremely likely Cedarcrest will be contacted about joining the new league.

The possible 2A league would include eight members, nine for football, so scheduling should be pretty self-explanatory for all CHS teams if this comes to pass. As of now, it’s not been announced that the expansion has been approved; that process is still ongoing as far as we know.

In all, the changes should not impact Mount Si nearly as much as it might Cedarcrest, but that has been par for the course in recent classification changes, largely due to the league alignments for CHS’ leagues changing. The school itself is expected to remain a 2A for the foreseeable future, but their student population in relation to neighboring schools, all of whom are either 3A or 4A schools, has made for CHS being sort of isolated in a sea of larger schools and districts which has made league alignment for them more challenging in recent years.

Soon, we will discuss the other big potential change, and that is to student eligibility and transfer regulations that could impact whether student-athletes will have freedom to change schools based on sports considerations.

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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