Seton Catholic, King’s Way Christian set to opt-up

Private schools will join Class 1A Trico League

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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Seton Catholic and King’s Way Christian are moving up the classification ranks.

The private schools with Class 1B enrollment numbers have opted up to play as Class 1A programs and will compete in the Trico League beginning next school year, it was confirmed Wednesday after a meeting of athletic directors.

The moves will not be official until the Washington Interscholastic Activities Associations votes to approve reclassification at its executive meeting Jan. 22-23. But Seton Catholic athletic director Dick Scobba does not expect any more changes to the plan.

“I am reporting to you what was confirmed in a league meeting today,” Scobba said Wednesday. “If I got it wrong, it’s because they told me wrong.”

The addition of Seton Catholic and King’s Way will make for a 10-team Trico League beginning next school year in most team sports.

Football will be a nine-school league — at least in 2012 — because King’s Way is not ready to compete as a varsity, 11-man football program.

King’s Way athletic director Luke Gillock said the Knights will either play a junior varsity football schedule next season or play 1B football as an eight-man program. However, if the Knights play the eight-man game, they will be ineligible for postseason play.

“We’re assessing the number of athletes we have right now,” Gillick said, referring to football.

Reclassification, though, affects all sports.

“It was a decision that we feel best reflects our current and future needs for the school,” Gillock said. “In just about every way, we feel it’s a better fit.”

Both Scobba and Gillock said the state’s set-up for boys soccer was a big factor in the decision to move to 1A. Class 2B/1B boys soccer is a fall sport, but it is a spring sport for other classifications.

Scobba said his school wants to have football and boys soccer programs, but the school is too small to support both sports in the same season.

Gillock said the numbers released to him showed that King’s Way is a small 2B school. Seton Catholic will be moving up two classifications. Its numbers, according to Scobba, put the Cougars in as a 1B school.

Meanwhile, Ridgefield is moving from the 1A ranks to join the Class 2A Greater St. Helens League and Woodland is leaving the 2A GSHL to become a 1A program.

The nine-team Trico League will make for an eight-game football league schedule, with room on the calendar for one non-league game. League athletic directors voted to cross over with the 1A Evergreen League for that non-league game, which means Woodland will not be playing some close neighbors.

“I’m excited to get La Center back, but I’m going to miss the Hockinson rivalry and the Ridgefield rivalry,” said Paul Huddleston, Woodland’s athletic director.

The Trico League will consist of La Center, Stevenson, Castle Rock, Ilwaco, Kalama, Toledo, White Salmon, and newcomers Woodland, Seton Catholic and King’s Way.

Hockinson also confirmed Wednesday that it will opt up to the 2A Greater St. Helens League. Beth Tugaw, the school’s athletic director, had announced that intention last month but left room for any change of heart. Now it is certain.

“We were making sure we made the right decision,” Tugaw said.

That will make for a five-team 2A GSHL with Hockinson, Ridgefield, Washougal, Mark Morris, and R.A. Long.

The 4A and 3A GSHLs expect to have a six-six split, with Camas becoming a 4A program.

The 4A GSHL: Battle Ground, Camas, Evergreen, Heritage, Skyview and Union.

The 3A GSHL: Columbia River, Fort Vancouver, Hudson’s Bay, Kelso, Mountain View, and Prairie.