Mount Si High School athletics could be on their way to new league starting next year, but will they be??

Mount Si High School’s athletic program could be making its most significant changes in over 15 years thanks to a much-awaited announcement last Friday.

Mount Si High School's girls' soccer team huddles before a game this season against Mercer Island at Mount Si High School. Next season, the Wildcats are expected to be playing all sports, including girls' soccer, as members of Kingco 4A. (Courtesy photo)

Mount Si High School’s girls’ soccer team huddles before a game this season against Mercer Island at Mount Si High School. Next season, the Wildcats possibly will be playing all sports, including girls’ soccer, as members of Kingco 4A. (Courtesy photo)

As we told you recently, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association set Friday as the day they would release their draft counts of students used for the purposes of classifying schools for high school sports. And as expected, they did release the draft list, and you can see that here in a story from the Tacoma News Tribune. And for every Mount Si sports athlete, coach, parent or fan, it is very significant news.

The WIAA, in its list, revealed that Mount Si High School counted enough students to be classified as a “4A” school, meaning there is a strong possibility that for the first time since the 1997-98 school year, the Wildcats could be playing in a new league. In reality, though, it’s not going to be that big a move if it happens, as it would just be from Kingco 3A up to Kingco 4A. It has been stressed to us though by Mount Si athletic director Greg Hart that there are a number of things that have to still happen yet for this to be made official, such as whether more schools “opt up” than those that already have done so (which if that happens, could leave Mount Si in the 3A column), but our analysis of the numbers suggests that likely will not be the case. So, if a move to 4A does happen, what might it all mean?

First, it may result in the loss of rivalries, such as the longstanding one between the Wildcats and Liberty, who moved down to 2A and could end up as the second 2A team in Kingco, replacing Lake Washington, who is back up to 3A. But more importantly, if the move happens, travel will become a bit easier, as Issaquah, Skyline and Eastlake, all schools relatively close to Mount Si in terms of geography, will be playing the Wildcats in league play, so those rivalries will all get a chance to flourish. Sammamish’s Eastlake, incidentally, classified as a 3A, but was among those schools who have already opted up to remain in 4A.

As things stand right now, it is not clear what the makeup of a new Kingco 4A will be after all is said and done. Currently, the league, in addition to Issaquah, Skyline and Eastlake, also includes Redmond, Newport, Bothell, Inglemoor and Woodinville, and three Seattle schools – Ballard, Roosevelt and Garfield. However, in addition to Eastlake, Ballard, Garfield and Newport all classified as 3A’s for the next cycle. Those three schools could follow Eastlake’s lead and opt up to remain in the 4A league, but it is not known whether any will choose to do that; for various reasons, it is not expected that any of those three will choose to opt up.

If that becomes the case, and Mount Si does move up, which is likely, but again not definite, a new Kingco 4A is expected to just consist of nine teams. With that in mind, this is a potential scheduling formula for a nine-team league for various sports:

-Football: Mount Si would meet all league opponents once, with one non-conference game

-Baseball, Softball, Basketball: Mount Si would likely meet all league opponents once home and away, with four non-conference games. For softball, that could mean keeping the now-annual trip to Wenatchee intact, and for basketball, that will allow for continued scheduling of holiday tournaments. Baseball could also continue to schedule a trip east of the mountains if it so desired; the past two seasons they have traveled to play in the Tri-Cities

-Volleyball, Soccer: Mount Si could meet all league opponents once, with some round-robin games against certain opponents

-Other sports: TBA

The road to the state playoffs would also dramatically change as a result of the potential new league alignment. Kingco 4A does not hold a district tournament; rather, they just hold a league tournament and the trips to state would be determined out of that tournament. Look for the SeaKing District to get at least two, maybe three berths to state in most sports for 4A, meaning the road to state could be more difficult for all Wildcat teams the next two seasons in a 4A environment, if that occurs.

One reason why Mount Si’s count put them in 4A this time around may be due to the change in the state’s classification counting formula, and it can be argued that MSHS may be Exhibit A for the impact of the new formula. In the past, sophomores, juniors and seniors were counted for the classifications, but during the WIAA’s Representative Assembly meeting earlier this year, the association’s members voted to change the formula to instead count freshmen, sophomores and juniors, and with the growth in students at Mount Si in recent years, this change was expected to result at some point in the school moving to 4A status.

As for the rest of Kingco 2A/3A, Liberty, as noted earlier, was classified as a 2A team. They likely will remain in Kingco as its second 2A team (along with Sammamish), replacing Lake Washington, which listed back in 3A for the next cycle. The conference should, as a result, barring any surprises (such as Liberty opting up to remain a full-fledged 3A or leaving the league outright), be able to maintain its playoff share agreement, but whether that agreement is maintained with the Northwest District or instead is made with the West Central District is to be determined.

Liberty geographically is closer to West Central District 2A’s, so Kingco could instead pursue a share with that district instead of renewing their arrangement with the Northwest folks. The remaining Kingco 2A/3A schools – Sammamish, MI, Bellevue, Interlake and Juanita – stayed in their current classifications, meaning all of them will stay in the league.

Meanwhile, up north, Cedarcrest slotted in once again smack dab in the middle of the 2A classification, so they will be staying put. In fact, it appears all of the Cascade Conference stayed intact, so they may be one of the few leagues that doesn’t see any changes as a result of the new classifications.

Again, it should be noted that these changes are only in draft form, and still have to be fully finalized. It, however, is expected that the new alignments will be made official early next year by a vote of the WIAA.

We’ll keep you posted on all the latest on this front here at the SVSJ.

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.
This entry was posted in Basketball, Football, News and Comment, On the Diamond, On the Links, Soccer, Tennis, Track/XC/Running, Volleyball, Water Sports, Wrestling/Gymnastics. Bookmark the permalink.