Thursday, February 22, 2024

Chelan Schools forge new athletic alliance amid WIAA reclassification

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CHELAN - In the latest development affecting high school sports in Washington state, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has announced its school reclassifications for 2024-2028. This adjustment has significant implications for Chelan's activities and athletics and the structure of the current Caribou Trail League (CTL). The reclassification process, which occurs every four years based on enrollment figures, has led to a necessary realignment within these leagues.

Following Quincy's departure to the 2A classification, the CTL found itself with a reduced number of schools. Efforts by the remaining CTL schools to merge with the South Central Athletic Conference (SCAC) and the NCW 2B League were not successful. Consequently, Chelan, Cascade, and Omak have opted for a creative solution by forming a scheduling alliance with the North Central Washington B League. This alliance allows for flexibility in scheduling, permitting teams to opt out of potentially unbalanced matches.

Athletic Director Evan Reister highlighted the benefits of this new alliance, emphasizing the opportunity for competitive play and the continuation of tradition, particularly with Cashmere. "We see this as a great opportunity to compete at a high level in athletics. The North Central Washington B League continues to send multiple teams to state tournaments and state championship games every year," Reister said. He also noted the efforts made to maintain the CTL's cohesion, adding, "We worked really hard to keep the CTL together, but there were many factors that we had to consider. We will still plan on playing Cashmere in every sport that we are able to."

The changes are driven by several key considerations, including reducing travel expenses for school districts, ensuring competitive games across all sports, enhancing student athletes' instructional time by minimizing travel, and increasing fan engagement through more accessible game locations.

Additionally, in a move that will further impact postseason play, the WIAA has combined Districts 5 and 6 for playoffs, creating a 12-team district that includes both the SCAC and the CTL. Further updates on the playoff structure for various sports are anticipated as more information becomes available. This reorganization reflects a significant shift in the high school sports landscape in Washington, aiming to maintain competitive balance while honoring longstanding traditions and rivalries.

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