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Olympic League splits into 1A, 2A divisions this fall
The more things change for the Olympic League, the more they look the same.
With Klahowya Secondary School dropping down into the 1A classification for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 prep seasons, officials with the Olympic League have organized to split the league into 1A and 2A divisions.
The league’s 2A schools include Sequim and familiar foes from Bremerton, Kingston, North Kitsap, North Mason, Olympic and Port Angeles high schools.
The 1A division now includes Klahowya, Chimacum, Coupeville and Port Townsend.
The change could mean that with fewer teams in the 2A classification, Olympic League teams like Sequim could lose a district tourney berth every other year in some sports, according to Dave Ditlefsen, Sequim High School’s athletic director.
“It also depends on how other leagues shake out,” he said.
One of the reasons for the division split was to help 1A teams have a clearer, more equitable path to postseason play, Ditlefsen said. In recent years Port Townsend teams have had to play pigtail games into district tournaments regardless of record.
“It helps at least one 1A team into a good spot (for the postseason),” Ditlefsen said.
Most teams, such as basketball, soccer, baseball and fastpitch, will play within the division twice and crossover with the other division once.
Some teams — swimming, track, cross country and wrestling — play other league foes just once.
In football, where significant discrepancies in school size creates uneven match-ups, teams will not cross over to play outside the respective divisions.
Football teams in the 2A division (like Sequim) will have six league games and three non-league games; last season they played seven league games and two non-leaguers.
“The net result for most of (our sports) is one less league game to schedule,” Ditlefsen said.
Whidbey Island’s Coupeville, the smallest 1A team in Washington by enrollment, will only compete within the 1A division, not crossing over with any of the 2A schools.
One of the reasons for that restriction, Ditlefsen said, is a travel issue.
“It (the Port Townsend-Keystone ferry connection) is a sketchy ferry as it is,” Ditlefsen said, referring to the occasional canceled ferry route due to issues weather or tides.
Additionally, Coupeville teams look to teams on the east side of Puget Sound for their non-league games.
Sequim’s enrollment number for the WIAA’s biennial classification count, one based on the number of sophomores, juniors and seniors at any given school, is at 743 — nearly the exact middle among 2A schools.
Ditlefsen said he doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon.
“I expect we will be right in the middle for a long time,” he said.
That’s not always the case for other Olympic League 2A schools like Port Angeles, Olympic, North Kitsap and Bremerton. Port Angeles’ WIAA enrollment count is 939 — sixth highest among the 64 teams in 2A — while Olympic, North Kitsap and Bremerton are among the 2A’s 15 biggest schools by enrollment.