On Jan. 7, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association is expected to set the classifications for the next two school years.
And while the leagues in Southwest Washington appear to be taking shape, there are decisions that will be made up north that could have impact on local teams.
But first, let’s start with what we know for sure.
Of course, nothing is certain until Jan. 7, and several schools have not announced their intentions yet as they try to keep every option open.
The 4A Greater St. Helens League will be a seven-team league beginning next fall, with all seven schools solidly in the new 4A classification. The change is Mountain View returning to the 4A level.
The benefit of that change is it makes all four Evergreen Public Schools high schools league rivals for the first time.
The main drawback is an odd-numbered league makes scheduling more difficult.
All indications are that the 3A GSHL will be a five-team league. There is one possible wrinkle to that statement.
In the most recent classification numbers, Columbia River was sitting right at the bottom end of the 3A levels, and announced opt-ups elsewhere in the state would move River into the 2A classification.
And while River has made no announcement, it appears likely the Chieftains will opt-up to 3A if final numbers leave River as a 2A school.
There are two reasons for River to accept being slotted as a 2A school: an improved competitive situation and lessening their travel. River has never had a problem competing in the 3A GSHL, and moving to the 2A GSHL would increase the amount of travel the Chieftains would do.
It appears that the 2A GSHL will be a six-team league, with Woodland joining the current five members. The Beavers were hoping that opt-ups might slide them back into 1A, but that doesn’t appear likely.
But there are decisions to be made by schools in the northern end of the District 4 that could affect the 2A GSHL.
Currently, there are seven schools in the 2A Evergreen Conference: River Ridge of Lacey, Capital of Olympia, Tumwater, Black Hills of Tumwater, Centralia, W.F. West of Chehalis and Aberdeen.
Reclassification likely will return Capital to 3A, but Rochester’s move from 1A to 2A would appear to leave the 2A EvCo with seven teams.
However, River Ridge is discussing a move to District 3 to join the 2A South Puget Sound League. Rochester has not applied to join the 2A EvCo. Instead, Rochester and Aberdeen could join the five 1A Evergreen schools to form a split-classification league.
If all of those decisions are made, it leaves the 2A EvCo with just four teams, which is hardly enough to make a league. One solution for that is for the four remaining 2A EvCo teams to combine with the six 2A GSHL teams to make a 10-team league spanning from Tumwater to Washougal.
With Woodland potentially moving up to 2A and Ilwaco and Toledo sliding down to 2B, the 1A Trico League could be a seven-team league made up of La Center, White Salmon, Castle Rock and Stevenson being joined by 2B opt-ups Kalama, King’s Way Christian and Seton Catholic.