Tim Martinez: New numbers could mean some league shuffling

Tim Martinez: High Schools

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant sports editor

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This week, we expect to get some big news regarding the future of high school sports in Southwest Washington and across the state.

Preliminary enrollment figures will be released this week by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. These numbers will be used to establish the two-year reclassification period beginning with the 2012-13 school year.

And after these numbers are announced, the Greater St. Helens Leagues could look different.

For instance, the common belief is that Camas and Mountain View will be Class 4A schools next season.

And there are good things about those possible changes.

For one, it resumes the rivalry between Union and Camas. It would also put all four schools from Evergreen Public Schools back in the same league.

So on the surface, it looks as if the five-team 4A GSHL may become a seven-team league, and the seven-team 3A GSHL may be a five-team league.

But things might not shake out so easily.

For instance, one of the remaining 3A GSHL schools could decide to opt up and join the 4A GSHL, giving that league an even number of teams.

Also possible is that one of the remaining 3A schools could be reclassified as a 2A school, potentially gutting the 3A GSHL.

And in that case, we could see a split-classification league, like the 4A/3A GSHL or 3A/2A GSHL.

But before any of these options can be considered, first we have to see where the numbers fall.

The WIAA will release its enrollment numbers this week and divide the schools in the state equally into the six classifications — 4A down to 1B.

Then schools will have the option of opting up in classification. This will cause a reshuffling of schools in the different classifications.

After that process is complete, the WIAA will release its final classification divisions sometime in January.

This two-year reclassification process has its benefits and drawbacks. One drawback is it breaks continuity of leagues with teams moving up and down every two years.

But the benefit is ensuring a fair distribution of schools and maintaining a competitive balance.

So stay tuned for more on this later this week.

Silent Storm

Some Columbian readers might have been surprised to pick up the Sunday edition of the paper and not see any game coverage from the Skyview-Skyline football state championship.

And that may have been a disappointment to some Skyview fans — although not nearly as disappointing as the result of Saturday’s championship game.

But it is the holiday season.

And this time of year, The Columbian sees a boost in the number of businesses wishing to advertise with inserts in the Sunday paper.

That’s good news for The Columbian.

The bad news is that these inserts also slow the delivery process of the Sunday paper.

So in order to deliver the Sunday paper at the time our subscribers have come to expect, press deadlines had to be moved up.

So when we went to press with our first edition of Sunday’s paper, the Skyview-Skyline game had barely entered the fourth quarter.

But our first edition, which in sports included a column by Greg Jayne on Skyview’s supporters at the Tacoma Dome, was scheduled for rural home delivery routes only.

Our second edition, which included two stories on the game plus a different Greg Jayne column and more photos from Troy Wayrynen, should have been made available to subscribers in Vancouver and at single-copy rack sales.

And, of course, all three stories are available on our website, www.columbian.com/sports or www.360preps.com.

It’s not the most desirable situation to be in on the night of what possibly will be our biggest high school sports event of the year. But it’s something we had to deal with.

That’s because — and if you’re reading this column, you may find it hard to believe — more people care about prompt delivery of their paper than the coverage of a high school football game.

All-Region

The fall sports season is now complete. But the salute to our outstanding fall athletes goes on.

Last week we spotlighted our outstanding athletes of the year in boys and girls cross country and girls swimming.

This week, we will honor the best in volleyball, girls soccer and football.

And remember, as their seasons do not end until the spring, athletes in boys golf and tennis will be honored in June.

This week

The second full week of the winter sports season gets geared up with a heavy load of basketball games set for Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Friday, the area’s first league games will be played as the 4A GSHL begins play when Skyview faces Heritage and Evergreen meets Battle Ground in boys and girls games.

Also, we see more dual meets and matches in wrestling, boys swimming and gymnastics.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538 or tim.martinez@columbian.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/360TMart.