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Greyhounds leaving Mid-Valley League

Vikings moving up (in two years)

Grandview High School will be ending its two-year stint in the 3A Mid-Valley League at the end of this school year. The Greyhounds will drop down to the 2A ranks through 2006.

This is a result of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) enrollment count that takes place during odd school years. The last enrollment count marks the first time that counts were taken for an eight-month period, in hopes of gaining a truer enrollment count.

The enrollment counts, which use student numbers in the top three grades, for the four classifications in the state are as follows. The 'B' schools consist of enrollments from zero to 150 students in the top three grades. The 1A schools have enrollments from 151 to 300 students while 2A schools are from 301 to 600. The 3A schools have a broad range to fall within, ranging from 601 to 1,200 students. The 4A schools are all schools with enrollment counts over 1,200.

While next year will see the Greyhounds return to the Central Washington Athletic Conference (CWAC), other local schools such as Sunnyside High School, Mabton, Sunnyside Christian High School and Bickleton will stay the same.

However, while Mabton will be staying in the Greater Columbia 'B' League for the next two years, don't look for it to stay that way too long. Mabton High School Athletic Director Denny Brown said there are large class sizes coming up through the high school that will push Mabton into the 1A classification at the next enrollment count.

With the departure of Grandview, the Mid-Valley League will drop to seven schools-Sunnyside, Prosser, Wapato, West Valley-Yakima, Hanford, Selah and Ellensburg.

But while the Mid-Valley is losing a school, the schools in WIAA district 8 will actually gain a school. The Mid-Valley, which is in WIAA district 5, partners with district 8 in Regional berths. The two new 3A schools in district 8 are East Valley-Spokane, which is the largest 3A school in the state with 1,184 students, and North Central, which is the fifth largest 3A school with an enrollment of 1,154. Those two schools will join Cheney (849 students), Clarkston (755) and West Valley-Spokane (682) to make-up district 8.

West Valley-Yakima is the largest Mid-Valley League school with 1,115 students in its top three grades. Sunnyside is the second biggest Mid-Valley school with 1,085 students, and the 16th largest in the state.

Sunnyside High School Athletic Director Bill Daley said the departure of Grandview from the Mid-Valley League created some problems with scheduling.

"It creates a unique situation," said Daley. "It is a challenge for everyone. It changed a lot of schedules."

One of the major changes for football fans will be the non-league games scheduled. Because Grandview is going back to the CWAC South, which includes schools such as East Valley, Toppenish, Othello and Naches, the total number of schools in that league will increase to seven. As a result, the schedules for certain events in both leagues had to be changed around to accommodate the switch. Grizzly football will not be playing East Valley any more as a result of the change. Sunnyside had to travel to Moscow, Idaho to find a non-league football game to fill the hole left in the schedule. The Greyhounds and Sunnyside will play in the opening game of the season in a non-league contest. The other non-league football contests will be against Moscow and Eastside Catholic in 2004. Sunnyside was also set to have a bye in football in its 10th week, but Daley managed to get a commitment from the CWAC's No. 5 seeded team to play the Grizzlies.

For District, Daley said the Mid-Valley League is looking at still holding a tournament with six of the seven teams qualifying for the postseason. Mid-Valley schools will be meeting with schools from the Greater Spokane League to discuss the Regional postseason format.

"We have still yet to look at what we are going to do," said Daley.

Grandview finished nine students under the enrollment count for the 3A classification, with 592 students. Despite being so close to the 3A enrollment figures, Grandview High School Athletic Director Zane Wells thought the move would be good for the students.

"I think that the move down gives all of our kids a better opportunity to be successful," said Wells. "I think it is a good move for our kids and for our community."

Grandview will be the second largest 2A school in district 5 behind Othello, which has 593 students. Mount Baker is the largest 2A school in the state with 595 students.

Wells said scheduling wasn't much of a problem for him because he had made other schools aware that Grandview might be dropping down in classification next school year.

"We knew that we were going to be close," said Wells.

With the economic growth in Grandview, which includes the new Wal-Mart distribution center, Wells acknowledged there might be a chance that Grandview's enrollment goes above 600 at the next enrollment count in 2005, but said the move he made now was what he felt was best for the students.

Wells said Grandview will continue to schedule the non-league rivalry games that the Valley is used to seeing.

"We want to keep those rivalry games going," said Wells.

Mabton is the largest 'B' school in the state with 150.6 students. Brown said, though, when enrollment was tallied Mabton had to include local students who were attending alternative schools in other communities.

Even though Mabton was right near the 1A enrollment count, Brown opted to stay at the 'B' ranks, where the Vikings have had success. Brown said a driving factor was that he didn't want to have the other schools have to change their schedules to accommodate Mabton, wanting to maintain continuity.

"(We) would have destroyed all the work that went into those schedules," said Brown.

But don't look for Mabton to stay in the 'B' ranks too long as large classes coming through the ranks will boost the Vikings' enrollment counts to the 1A level at the next cycle. Brown, though, said it is good for his athletes to stay at the 'B' ranks for now.

Sunnyside Christian has an enrollment count of 62 students and is the 72nd largest 'B' school in the state. Bickleton has 22 students in its top three grades and is the 106th largest school.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

Greater Columbia 'B' League (based on student enrollment counts)

1. Mabton - 150

2. LaSalle - 117

3. Lyle - 98

4. Riverside Christian - 86

5. Sunnyside Christian - 62

6. Yakama Tribal - 60

7. Trout Lake - 46

8. Klickitat - 36

9. Glenwood - 24

10. Bickleton - 22

Central Washington Athletic Conference

1. Othello - 593

2. Grandview - 592

3. Toppenish - 574

4. Ephrata - 529

5. East Valley - 528

6. Quincy - 472

7. Connell - 413

8. Cascade - 393

9. Kiona-Benton - 392

10. Omak - 384

11. Naches - 371

12. Cashmere - 358

13. Chelan - 319

Mid-Valley League

1. West Valley-Yakima - 1,115

2. Sunnyside - 1,085

3. Hanford - 1,002

4. Selah - 838

5. Ellensburg - 726

6. Prosser - 673

7. Wapato - 650

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