Major changes for KingCo teams in 2008-2009

The sports landscape will be very different next year for Mercer Island High School.

  • Monday, November 24, 2008 8:11pm
  • Sports

The sports landscape will be very different next year for Mercer Island High School.

Principals in all of the KingCo schools unanimously approved a combined-classification conference alignment on Thursday to combat the ever-changing enrollments of the schools.

“This new alignment will cut down on transportation costs and will give us more of an opportunity to play against bigger schools,” said Mercer Island Athletic Director Craig Olson. “We will have another meeting on January 28 to further discuss fall schedules and playoff formats.”

The new alignment will be like no other in the state and will divide MIHS competition by team or individual sports and placing them in two different leagues.

The change was made following months of deliberation by administrators.

Issaquah, Newport and Skyline had significant increases in enrollment, leading them to move up to the state’s 4A classification. Conversely, Interlake is moving to class 2A and Juanita up to 3A. The loss of three schools would have left 3A KingCo, the Islanders’ conference, with only six schools (Mercer Island, Bellevue, Juanita, Liberty, Sammamish and Mount Si) and overloaded the 4A division.

The new alignment makes the leagues different for different sports based on overall team and individual competition. Team sports: football, basketball, baseball, fast-pitch softball, soccer and volleyball will compete within the new 3A/2A division, including Bellevue, Juanita, Interlake, Sammamish, Liberty and Mount Si.

More individualized sports such as cross country, swimming, track and field, wrestling, golf, tennis and gymnastics will compete in the more geographically divided Crown West division, comprised of Ballard, Bellevue and Roosevelt. Both the team and more individualized sports will still maintain team titles for regular season play.

Mercer Island will lose some in-league rivalries such as wrestling against Issaquah and volleyball against Newport. The teams will get a chance to meet during the regular season at non-league games and gain more competition against 4A level schools.

Conversely, some old rivalries will be rekindled.

“Juanita and Mercer Island in boys basketball used to be the hottest ticket in town,” said Olson.

The Jan. 28 meeting will be held to discuss many different issues. First and foremost will be fall schedules and playoff formats for those sports.

“We already have schools from outside that are wanting to get on our schedule, asking how it will affect non-league games,” said Olson.

Another issue that will be discussed is the possible addition of the sport of girls lacrosse into the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA).

“Many schools want to add girls lacrosse for compliance with Title IX,” said Olson.

Boys lacrosse, boys water polo and girls water polo have also been discussed as new additions to the state-supported WIAA, to transition from being parent and community-supported club sports.

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