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Olympic League will split into two divisions in 2014-15
By MICHAEL DASHIELL
A change in enrollment classifications by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association will result in a split Olympic League later this year.
Klahowya Secondary School will drop to 1A for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 prep seasons, and officials with the Olympic League will split the league into 1A and 2A divisions.
The league’s 2A high schools will include Sequim, Bremerton, Kingston, North Kitsap, North Mason, Olympic and Port Angeles high schools.
The 1A division will include Klahowya, Chimacum, Coupeville and Port Townsend.
The change could mean that with fewer teams in the 2A classification, Olympic League teams in 2A could lose a district tourney berth every other year in some sports, according to Dave Ditlefsen, Sequim High School’s athletic director.
“It also depends on how other leagues shake out,” he said.
One of the reasons for the division split was to help 1A teams have a clearer, more equitable path to postseason play, Ditlefsen said. In recent years, Port Townsend teams have had to play pigtail games into district tournaments regardless of record.
“It helps at least one 1A team into a good spot (for the postseason),” Ditlefsen said.
Most teams, such as basketball, soccer, baseball and fastpitch, will play within the division twice and crossover with the other division once.
Some teams — swimming, track, cross country and wrestling — play other league foes once.
In football, where significant discrepancies in school size creates uneven match-ups, teams will not cross over to play outside the respective divisions.
Football teams in the 2A division will have six league games and three non-league games.
“The net result for most of (our sports) is one less league game to schedule,” Ditlefsen said.
Whidbey Island’s Coupeville, the smallest 1A team in Washington by enrollment, will only compete within the 1A division, not crossing over with any of the 2A schools.
One of the reasons for that restriction, Ditlefsen said, is a travel issue.
“It (the Port Townsend-Keystone ferry connection) is a sketchy ferry as it is,” Ditlefsen said, referring to the occasional canceled ferry route due to issues weather or tides.
Additionally, Coupeville teams look to teams on the east side of Puget Sound for their non-league games.
The WIAA biennial classification count is based on the number of sophomores, juniors and seniors enrolled in a school. Klahowya dropped into 1A with 455.7 students.
Kingston and North Kitsap's enrollment numbers are 637.5 and 862.5, respectively.
Port Angeles’ WIAA enrollment count is 939 — sixth highest among the 64 teams in 2A — while Olympic, North Kitsap and Bremerton are among the 2A’s 15 biggest schools by enrollment.
The 2A classification count changed from schools falling within a range of 513-1,085 students for 2012-14, to 472-990.8 for the next two school years. The 1A classification changed from 208-512 to 225-471.9.
— North Kitsap Herald reporter Kipp Robertson contributed to this report.