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December 15, 2009 at 2:34 PM

Three Wesco 4A schools could drop in classification

The deadline for schools to “opt-up” to a larger classification is this afternoon.

Currently, there are 10 more 4A schools than in 3A — and 2A (55 schools) is the smallest classification, even including 1A, 2B and 1B. These disparities stemmed from the fact that 33 schools opted up for the 2008-2010 re-classification. But under the new system, when lines (based on a 3-year average of enrollment) will be drawn after schools make their decisions, each of 2A, 3A and 4A need to have roughly 66 schools after the opt-ups.

I caught up with some folks up North to see where this is all at, primarily in Wesco. Here’s what Northwest District One director Jim Piccolo had to say: “If you didn’t decide to opt up, then you’re stuck. So a couple leagues are waiting until the deadline to make their decisions, and then will likely appeal.”

He also confirmed that the only school in the district that is officially opting up is Archbishop Murphy (again, to 2A) and that “all the rest of them are going to stay put, based on whatever their numbers are.”

That means Oak Harbor (1,237.88 students), Mountlake Terrace (1,260.14) and perhaps even Shorewood (1,285.57) could be 3A. (The cut-off point for 4A schools in the 2008-2010 cycle was 1,281.)

“I’m pretty sure we’ll be 3A, and if that’s the case we won’t opt up,” said Oak Harbor athletic director Nikki Luper, who is also one of two Wesco representatives on the Northwest District One executive board.

As for Arlington, a closer look at its numbers — which the school originally thought to be well within the 3A parameters — revealed a 4A distinction.

Arlington athletic director Tom Roys said that enrollment figures from Weston High School and Stillaguamish Valley School are required. “Very seldom do we find that a student from one of those schools turns out for sports, but because of the possibility of them playing, the numbers from those schools have to be counted,” said Roys, who estimated that Arlington High only has roughly 1,150 students.

Final classification figures won’t be released until Jan. 4. If schools declared to opt up, they can’t opt down. Jan. 15 is the final opt-up day for schools that drop in classification due to the amount of schools in their former classification that choose to opt up. League, district and WIAA Executive Board approval is required at that point.

A Wesco meeting tomorrow will include a discussion of keeping the current hybrid format (benefit of less travel) or perhaps consider 3A and 4A separate leagues (benefit of less chaotic playoff system).

If Mountlake Terrace, Oak Harbor and Shorewood are indeed 3A, then a currently unbalanced Wesco (14 4A schools, five 3A) would be relatively evened out at 11 and 8, respectively. Furthermore, Everett would have a 3A colleague (Oak Harbor) in the North. Moreover, the South would be 3A-heavy and feature just four 4A schools (Edmonds-Woodway, Jackson, Kamiak and Mariner).

  • Ferndale and Mount Vernon will likely remain 3A because of other schools ahead of them opting up. Squalicum athletic director Patrick Brown said that the school will like remain 2A due to the number of 2A schools projected to opt up. “We’re actually pretty happy at 2A. Since we’re right at the cut-off mark, we’d be one of the smallest 3A schools.”

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