OSAA reclassification update: Tri-Valley Conference shifts, Colton moves to 2A
As the Oregon School Activities Association's four-year time block comes to an end following the upcoming acadmeic year, the Classification and Districting Committee is busy working to come up with new classifications for high schools throughout the state.
The committee has met 18 times on the matter of the 2018-2022 time block, most recently on June 20 for the currently supported proposal which keeps the six-tier classification model, though seven of those meetings considered a model that included just five classifications.
The committee will meet twice at the beginning of the upcoming school year and will make its final recommendations to the OSAA Executive Board at the October 16 Special Classification and Districting Meeting, according to a proceedings update document on their website. The document says that "schools are reminded that until the final recommendation is forwarded to the OSAA Executive Board for review and adoption, the cutoff points are variable and will most likely change again before the Committee recommendation is finalized."
The most recent proposal – which has not been finalized and is expected to change again – shifts the Tri-Valley Conference around a bit, keeping just five teams in the league; in this model, Crook County, Gladstone, and Corbett have been replaced by Woodburn (currently a 5A school) and North Marion (Molalla and North Marion have been in the same league(s) in the past).
The move would undoubtedly put Molalla in a better competitive position in many sports with the departures of Gladstone, who has become a 4A powerhouse (this proposal moves them to the Cowapa League with the coastal teams of Astoria, Seaside, and Tillamook, along with Valley Catholic and Corbett) and Crook County, while the addition of North Marion's always-solid athletic programs would provide the competition the Indians have seen over the years in non-league play.
Woodburn (who is projected to have a decreased enrollment next year, though still has nearly twice as many students as Molalla) boasts a championship soccer program that would likely challenge the Indians in league play if not in the state playoffs, while Estacada remains in the league as per usual and always provides for some historic rivalry matchups.
Colton, on the other hand, does see some significant changes in this proposal.
The Vikings were moved down to the 2A level in the 18th proposal to the would-be Central Valley League, and eight-team conference; they would be joined by current PacWest Conference opponents Gervais and Chemawa and would face off against Culver, Delphian, Kennedy, Santiam, and Western Mennonite.
Colton is more than likely happy to see current PacWest powerhouses Salem Academy and Blanchet Catholic out of their league, though the additions of Western Mennonite, Santiam and Kennedy would provide some formidable competition.
Greg Adams, who served as athletic director and boys' basketball coach during the 2016-2017 academic year for CHS, said the potential reclassification for the Vikings could bring back some familiar rivalries between teams that used to be in the same league(s) in past years.
"Over the years, all of those teams have, at one time, [Colton] has been in the same league with, even Culver for a couple years," Adams said. "Kennedy and Santiam we were probably in with the longest with Gervais and Chemawa when we were in the old Tri-River league, so there's a lot of history with those schools."
Adams also commented on potential travel under this proposal, which would be reduced dramatically.
"It'll be nice, for the most part, I think the driving will be closer," he said. "Delphian is between Willamina and Sheridan, so it's right there, and really there's only one long trip and that's Culver … I think that's doable, and I think it'll be a good, cohesive league, and I think it'll be very compeititve from top to bottom."
"I think Western Mennonite's boys' basketball team is pretty elite right now; I think that program is what most teams will be trying to catch up with."
Adams did point out a negative aspect to the potential shift, however, as only four schools other than Colton have football programs – Gervais, Kennedy, Culver, and Santiam (Chemawa eliminated its football program after last year; they went 1-25 in just the last four seasons alone).
"That means just four league games, so that's going to be a little more difficult as far as getting three teams to the playoffs, they might only allow two, I don't know about the parameters to that," Adams said. "The only issue you really have then is filling your non-league schedule."
The proposal wouldn't have much of an effect on The Valley 10 league, other than the addition of Life Christian Academy to make it an 11-team conference, which will mark their first year as a full member of the OSAA.
"When we joined the V10 league two years ago, one of the primary drivers in the move was how few teams were currently in the league (five at the time)," Country Christian athletic director and head volleyball coach Janin McGrath said in an email conversation.
She continued, "It's great to (potentially) see the number of teams increase again; the challenges that will come with a large number of league teams will be the game limitations for each sports and ensuring there is a good balance between league and non-league matches/games," she said.
McGrath noted that the school's travel budget should see "very little impact" with the potential reclassification, as their longest road trip would only be to the Beaverton area.
"From a competitive standpoint, I think the reclassification, and raising the [enrollment] cutoff to 95, will bring some traditional powerhouse teams like St. Paul back to the 1A level," McGrath concluded.
More information on past proposals can be found on the OSAA website .
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