No major changes for Kitsap teams as WIAA approves 2020-2024 classifications

RENTON — The WIAA has finalized the classifications for the next four-year cycle, but there were no changes for any Kitsap high schools.

Bremerton, North Kitsap, Olympic and Kingston will all remain 2A schools, while Central Kitsap (3A), Klahowya (1A) and South Kitsap (4A) stay in their respective classifications. Bainbridge, a 2A school which previously opted up to 3A, is now a 3A-sized school.

Klahowya’s enrollment of 449 kept it in 1A by just one student. On the flip side, Kingston, at 473 students, is the smallest 2A school by average enrollment with the exception of Archbishop Murphy, a 1A opt-up.

Average enrollment was calculated by the number of students in grades nine through 11 reported to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for the months of January, February, March, April, May, October and November (counted double, for a total of eight enrollment counts) of 2019.

The WIAA made two major changes in early 2019 to the way they classify schools.

The first was the use of hard caps on enrollments numbers for each classification. Any schools with 1,300 or more students in grades nine through 11 were placed in Class 4A, 900-1,299 went in 3A, 450-899 went to 2A, 225-449 in 1A, 105-224 in 2B and 1-104 in 1B.

In the past, the WIAA strove to create classifications with the same number of teams; but the new hard caps necessitated a change in the number of berths to state tournament.

The 1A, 2A and 4A state tournaments will all remain at 16 teams, but because 3A has 79 school in this cycle, 3A state tournaments will consist of 20 teams.

For the first time, the WIAA also factored in free-and-reduced lunch counts in order to create more of a balance between wealthier and poorer schools. Any school with a free-and-reduced lunch rate higher than the statewide average (47 percent) saw its enrollment reduced for each percentage point exceeded.

Only Bremerton, at 61 percent free-and-reduced lunch, qualified for this reduction among Kitsap’s eight high schools.

With the numbers released, it appears the Olympic League 2A should retain the same seven teams while the 1A league now has just two teams left with Chimacum’s drop down to 2B. Klahowya is expected to join the Nisqually League full-time (the Eagles already compete in the Nisqually for football).

The South Sound Conference, of which Central Kitsap is a member, lost Shelton to 2A, but should gain River Ridge of Lacey, which moved up to 3A.

South Kitsap’s league, the South Puget Sound League, will retain its nine teams with Sumner opting up to stay in 4A and will add a tenth team in Bethel, which moved up to 4A. The Spanaway school is in the right geographic position to join the SPSL.

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