Posts Tagged ‘WIAA’

Coupeville High School senior Ryan Labrador received the US Marine Corp Athletic Achievement award Tuesday night. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Emma Smith spent much of her senior year collecting achievements and awards, and Tuesday was no different, as she was honored by the WIAA. (Konni Smith photo)

Dane Lucero joined Emma Smith in receiving the Cliff Gillies award. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Like Labrador, Ema Smith was honored by the Marines.

The awards flew fast and furious at Coupeville High School Tuesday night.

Along with the Male and Female Athlete of the Year winners being announced at the annual pre-graduation awards night, four other athletic honors were bestowed.

Ryan Labrador and Ema Smith received the U.S. Marine Corps Athletic Achievement award, while Dane Lucero and Emma Smith took home the Cliff Gillies Award.

The Marine Corps award recognizes athletes who are “exemplary young citizens and role models for younger students,” while having “exhibited the personal traits of courage, poise, self-confidence, and leadership while performing as a varsity athlete.”

The Gillies award is issued to a male and female athlete at each school in District 1, named in honor of the former Executive Director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Gillies was the head honcho at the WIAA from 1982-93.

A longtime teacher, coach and administrator, he had a sizable impact during his time as Executive Director.

While Gillies fronted the association, it restructured the state football playoff system, developed a drug education program, and started a student scholarship/participation recognition award.

Lucero and Emma Smith were recognized for “their participation in student activities, academic achievement, sportsmanship and citizenship.”

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They’re just begging to give you the money.

You have 18 days to make $5,000.

Apr. 1 is the deadline for senior high school student/athletes to apply for the 2019 Smart Choices Scholarship.

The program, run by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, Dairy Farmers of Washington, and Les Schwab Tires, offers two $5,000 first-place scholarships, as well as eight $1,000 runner-up awards.

Winners are split between female and male athletes.

The awards recognize students for their achievements in athletics/activities, the community, and the classroom.

To be eligible, you need to fill out an on-line application, as well as write a short essay or film a personal statement video on “how you plan to use your education to benefit others.”

When applications are judged, it breaks down to 35% athletic/activity excellence, 35% academic achievement, 15% leadership, 10% citizenship/community service, and 5% on originality/creativity of the essay or video.

To find out more and apply, pop over to:


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Kiara Contreras, a freshman at 1A Coupeville High School, could play her final two seasons in 2B. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Five Wolves seen in this photo could be playing for CHS during the 2020-2021 school year, when sweeping changes to the state classification system take affect.

The earthquake hit, and now the aftershocks will play out over the next 20 months.

As expected, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Representative Assembly passed two amendments Monday at its Winter Coalition meeting in Renton.

Now, the biggest question for locals becomes, will Coupeville continue to be one of the smallest 1A schools in the land or will it finally return to 2B for sports competition.

From 2007 to today, the WIAA has attempted to keep the number of schools in each classification (4A, 3A, 2A, 1A, 2B, 1B) balanced, which has often meant forcing schools such as CHS to remain a slot above where their student body count would dictate.

That changes now, as the first amendment passed Monday returns the state to using hard-number caps, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.

At that point, the new, set-in-concrete numbers will be:

4A — 1,300+ students
3A — 1,299-900
2A — 899-450
1A — 449-225
2B — 224-105
1B — 104-1

The counts, which cover students in grades 9-11, happen during the 2019-2020 school year.

After a school makes its count, the second amendment could reduce the number of students it has to claim.

Any schools who serve more free and reduced lunches than the state average (currently 43%), will shave their enrollment numbers equal to the percentage they are over.

So, if, say, 51% of a school’s lunches are free and/or reduced, that school will take 8% off its enrollment number before being classified.

Schools can only drop down one classification.

Current 2B and 1B schools are not covered by the second amendment after they argued it “would negatively impact competitive balance in the state’s smallest schools,” according to a Seattle Times article.

Both amendments, which had considerable support, are aimed at improving competitive balance between the “haves” and “have not’s” in the state.

Similar arrangements have been used in states such as Oregon, Minnesota, and Ohio.

The lone argument in recent years for forcing each classification level to have virtually the same number of schools was it gave schools equal access to qualifying for state championship tournaments.

Under the hard caps, if one division ends up with, say, 20 more schools than another, that could be an issue.

To deal with that, the WIAA is drawing up plans to expand or contract the standard 16-team state tourney based on how many schools are in a given division.

More schools, you could have a 24-team field.

Less schools, a 12 or eight-team draw, or divisions could be combined, as is already done for sports such as tennis, where 1A, 2B, and 1B compete in the same tourney.

While it’s not guaranteed Coupeville drops to 2B, it has been well under the 224-student barrier in both recent counts and future projections.

For now, the rest of this school year and the 2019-2020 school year are set, with CHS remaining in the 1A North Sound Conference with South Whidbey, King’s, Granite Falls, Sultan, and Cedar Park Christian.

In the last official student count, which set classifications for 2016-2020, Coupeville trailed four of those five schools by 120 or more students.

Cedar Park had just a 22-student advantage over CHS in that count, but, as a private school, it, like King’s, plays by a separate set of rules from public schools and can bring in student/athletes from outside its boundaries.

Once the new classifications are set, they will be in place for four years, running from 2020-2021 to 2023-2024, with schools being able to appeal their placements after two years.

Things could get wild across the state, if numerous schools move up or down, which could cause multiple leagues to crumble, expand, contract or be born.

If Coupeville moves back to 2B, where it lived for decades, it would likely return to its old home, the all-public school Northwest League.

That conference currently houses 2B schools La Conner, Darrington, Concrete, Friday Harbor, and Orcas Island, as well as 1B Mount Vernon Christian.

Top the 224-student limit and life as the smallest, scrappiest 1A school will continue, though the landscape could be altered.

Of Coupeville’s current league mates, Granite Falls was a 2A school just a second ago, and could have to return.

A preliminary version of the free and reduced lunch amendment would have forced swanky private schools such as King’s and Cedar Park to automatically add a certain percentage to their student counts.

That would have likely carried them up to 2A, but the wording was changed before the amendment was passed, and private schools will operate the same as public schools.

On this one thing, at least.

The Olympic League, where CHS just ended a four-year run, could crumble with the new numbers.

The 2A division has several schools expected to now be 3A, while the 1A division could completely disappear.

Of the three 1A schools the Wolves left behind, Klahowya is expected to move back to 2A after just slipping under the limit in recent years, and then there’s Chimacum and Port Townsend.

The former is close to being 2B like Coupeville, but there has also been talk the two schools, who already have agreements for sports such as tennis, wrestling and, starting this spring, softball, will unite for all athletic competition.

If they did, they would have to add both student bodies together and likely compete at the 2A level.

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If Coupeville moves down from 1A to 2B, only one of these athletes, freshman Xavier Murdy (right), could still be playing when it happens. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Change may be coming, but we’ll have to wait a bit for its full impact to hit.

When the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association meets Jan. 28 for its winter coalition, the group’s 53-member Representative Assembly will vote on two amendments which could radically alter how schools are classified for sports competition.

Rule 4.2.0 will “establish hard line numbers for high school classifications” while rule 4.3.0 “adjusts enrollment figures based upon percentage of free and reduced lunches.”

A 60% “yes” vote is needed to pass, and all indications are both amendments will easily clear that threshold.

If that happens, it could be huge for Coupeville High School. As one of the smallest 1A schools in the state, CHS could likely move down to 2B, where it resided for many decades.

But, and this is important, the WIAA confirmed this week that any changes to the classification system will not take effect until the 2020-2021 school year.

What does that mean for CHS athletes?

If you’re a current senior or junior, you will finish your prep athletic career in the 1A North Sound Conference. No one and done, it’s our home for at least two school years, this current one and the next.

After that, everything is in play.

The next classification count happens this year, either way, with each school tallying up students currently in grades 9-11.

If the second amendment passes, administrators will look at the state average for free and reduced lunches, and see how their school stacks up.

In an effort to better balance the field between rich (often private) schools and ones who struggle financially, schools above the state average would get to reduce their student body count by the same percentage.

That could allow some schools to drop down a classification, though they can’t jump more than one level.

After that, if the first amendment passes, the WIAA will no longer try to balance the number of schools in each classification, as it has for the past decade-plus.

That’s huge for Coupeville, which had 2B numbers during the last count in 2016, but was pushed back up to 1A in the effort to keep balance between the divisions.

CHS, after losing 10% of its student body in two years, appealed in 2018 to drop down, but was denied.

If hard line numbers are used, this is how the classification system will look in 2020:

4A — 1300+ students
3A — 900-1299
2A — 450-899
1A — 225-449
2B — 105-224
1B — 1-104

Once a school does its count, and uses the adjustment for free/reduced lunches (if above the state average), they will know where they sit, and no longer have to wait to see if they are bumped for “parity.”

Those classifications remain in effect for four years, and schools can appeal their status during the second year.

Schools can still opt to play up a classification, such as Archbishop Murphy currently does, competing as a 2A school while having a 1A-level student body count, but can’t opt down.

If CHS lands between 105-224 students, which appears possible, it would likely return to the Northwest B League in 2020, rejoining Concrete, La Conner and other foes it faced on a regular basis up through the ’80s.

If not, the 1A North Sound Conference, which Coupeville joined in 2018 after four seasons in the 1A Olympic League, will still be there waiting, though its current six-team look could change.

Granite Falls only recently slipped down from 2A to 1A after an appeal, while King’s and Cedar Park Christian, as private schools, won’t be helped by the free/reduced lunch amendment, and could actually be hurt.

There has been discussion about going the opposite way with private schools, automatically adding a certain percentage to the student body count. Whether that will become a reality is one of many things to keep an eye on if the amendments pass.

While going with hard line numbers seems like an ideal choice, the WIAA resisted for some time because of the likelihood some classifications would become substantially bigger than others.

If one classification has, say, 20 more schools than another, than it’s harder for each school at the more-crowded level to earn a berth at a state tournament.

The compromise is, if the amendments pass, state tourney fields will no longer have to be the same size at all levels.

If we’re operating under hard line numbers in 2020, here’s how it breaks down:

84+ schools in a classification = 24-team state tourney
69-83 schools = 20-team state tourney
53-68 schools = (traditional) 16-team state tourney
37-52 schools = 12-team state tourney
20-36 schools = 8-team state tourney
19 or less schools = combine with the division above for state tourney

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Avalon Renninger and Coupeville basketball kick off the 2019 portion of their season Friday in Shoreline. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The calendar flips, and who knows what awaits us?

Looking ahead at 2019, the one thing we know for sure is this – no one knows nothing.

There will undoubtedly be surprises galore, and, hopefully, they’ll fall more on the positive side than the negative side.

But here’s a few things to keep an eye on as we move ahead.



From here on out, it’s all league games for the Coupeville High School basketball teams.

The Wolf girls sit at 2-0 in North Sound Conference play, 4-5 overall, heading into “The Showdown in Shoreline” Friday, which pits CHS against King’s (2-0, 7-3) for sole-possession of first in the North Sound Conference.

Win or lose, Coupeville has seven more league clashes after that, and can punch a ticket to the postseason if it finishes in the top five in a six-team league.

The CHS boys (0-1, 1-7) are currently in 4th place, but, with nine games remaining, also control their own destiny.

Several Wolves are chasing individual accomplishments, beginning with Lindsey Roberts.

The senior captain sits at #24 on the career scoring chart, with 390 points, and is just 36 from cracking the all-time top 20.

While Roberts has the biggest story-line, there’s also senior Ema Smith, who needs a bucket to reach 150 career points and sophomore Chelsea Prescott, who is a three-ball shy of 100 career points.

Prescott would be the 98th CHS girl between 1975-2019 to break triple digits, joining Roberts, Ema Smith and junior Scout Smith (103 points) as active players in the exclusive club.

On the boys side of the ball, junior Mason Grove is the top active scorer, with 95 career points to his name. Net five more and he becomes the 162nd Wolf male in the modern era to hit 1-0-0.

Hot on his heels is freshman Hawthorne Wolfe, who leads Coupeville with 84 points in eight games.

He’s trying to become just the fifth Wolf boy in 102 seasons to toss in 100+ varsity points during his 9th grade season, and has his eyes on Mike Bagby’s frosh boys scoring record of 137.

While the CHS hoops squads return to action, they’ll soon be joined by the Coupeville Middle School girls.

The biggest moment of the winter, however, will play out off the court.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association meets Jan. 28 to vote on amendments which could toss everything topsy-turvy.

There’s a ton of moving parts, but here’s the simple breakdown.

If the biggest amendment on the agenda is approved (and it’s heavily favored), the WIAA will change how it classifies schools for athletics.

Instead of trying to keep things relatively balanced, by forcing a similar number of schools to fit into each level (4A, 3A, 2A, 1A, 2B, 1B), there would be set numbers.

Under that set-up, if you have 105-224 students, you’re 2B. Count 225-449 bodies and it’s 1A, and so on.

While final numbers for each school are still in flux, as the WIAA also works on a formula to aid schools which give an above-average amount of free or reduced-price lunches, the change could benefit Coupeville.

It’s very possible CHS, one of the smallest 1A schools for many years, would slip back to 2B under the new counts.

If so, the Wolves would ditch the new North Sound Conference after one year and head back to the Northwest League and old-school foes like La Conner, Concrete and Friday Harbor, beginning next fall.

Then again, if things go like they have in the past, Coupeville will miss the new count by half a body and be locked into being the smallest school in 1A for all eternity.

Only time will tell.



Coupeville exited the Olympic League with a splash, winning five league titles (baseball, softball, girls and boys track, girls tennis) last spring, before adding a district title and 5th place team finish at state for boys track.

With new foes and new players in key roles, all of those teams face new challenges, but a few Wolves are primed to make runs at records.

On the soccer pitch, junior cousins Derek and Aram Leyva can make an assault on the boys soccer career scoring record, held by Aram’s big brother, Abraham.

Abraham scored 45 goals over three seasons before graduating, while Derek set the Wolf boys single-season mark of 24 in his first go-around last year.

Aram, with 19 tallies (six as a freshman, 13 as a sophomore), isn’t far behind, and the duo could join Abraham, Mia Littlejohn (35) and Kalia Littlejohn (33) in the 30-goal club.

On the track oval, seniors Roberts (100 hurdles) and Danny Conlisk (400) are coming off 2nd place finishes in Cheney, and would love to break Coupeville’s state title drought.

The last Wolf to stand on top of the podium was Tyler King, who claimed a cross country championship in fall 2010. Several months before that, he won a pair of track titles, as well.

Roberts has claimed five competitive state track meet medals, earning at least one each year, and is tied with Yashmeen Knox for third all-time among Wolf girls.

Makana Stone (7) and Natasha Bamberger (6) are the last two for her to catch.

Joining an exclusive club, Conlisk used his performance in the 400 to become just the 23rd Wolf to collect a third competitive medal.

With every medal after this, the club just gets more and more exclusive.



Will Coupeville jump to 2B (boys and girls soccer together in the fall, and a lot less private schools), or dig in and plow ahead in 1A?

Can middle school football, which shut down two games early this past fall, be saved?

And most importantly, will I still be able to walk after months more of working on my sister’s homestead, Never Free Farm?

Well, like someone once said – no one knows nothing.

But I do know this – next fall brings a new class of talented freshmen to the high school, while “The Chosen One,” basketball whiz kid Savina Wells, enters 7th grade and gets to finally lay waste to middle school foes.

So, that’s a big something, something right there.

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