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Is the Mid-Valley League a thing of the past?

Reclassification may leave only two 3A schools in the league

Sunnyside High School Athletic Director Bill Daley updated members of the school district's Athletic Advisory Board on the progress of state-wide reclassification.

"Sunnyside High School will be in a unique position as one of the very few 3A teams in the area," said Daley. "There may only be two in the area."

The other school expected to compete at the 3A level is West Valley High School. Hanford, a soon to be 4A school, is petitioning to be in the Big 9. Grandview and Prosser are expected to be 2A.

"There will be no Mid-Valley League, I can almost guarantee that," said Daley.

Daley explained to the members of the board that it would be better for Sunnyside if WIAA created a combined 2A-3A schedule, because it would ensure games between Sunnyside and some of the historical rivalries, such as Prosser and Grandview.

"I think we need to keep our natural rivalries," said Daley, who pushed for the combination over a 4A- 3A combination at the WIAA meeting.

Daley said statewide 18 percent of the schools are to be 4A, and 18 percent 3A under the new classification.

"I don't want to us in the Big 9 if we don't have to be," said Daley. "I don't think it's a good place to be."

Daley said that if the WIAA changes to five classifications that the 3A-4A combination would be natural, but it would limit Sunnyside and put an extra strain on the sports programs financially. He explained that Sunnyside teams would have to travel extreme distances to play most of their games in a season.

"It puts us in a unique position," said Daley. "In April we will know exactly where we lie for the next two to eight years."

Another issue created by the WIAA that affects Sunnyside High School, as well as other schools in the Valley, is the start of the spring sports season. The season is scheduled to start a week later, which Daley said is an issue that Western Washington schools like since they start school later, but is bad for most Eastern Washington schools, which are out the first two weeks of June.

"We've got a few potential conflicts with graduation and state tournaments," said Daley.

Sunnyside High School Principal Dennis Birr said it will put a hardship on families and students, making them choose between graduation and performing in a state tournament.

Unsure if scheduling graduation later, mostly because of the hardship it would put on families not affected by sports, Birr said they are looking for answers.

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