Reclassification splits NHS from its traditional rivals
The Tigers will move to the nine-member Three Rivers League, while McMinnville and Forest Grove will join the Central Valley Conference; the Pacific Conference will cease to exist
With the introduction of the OSAA Reclassification and Districting Committees ninth realignment proposal released Sept. 27 and approved as the final recommendation on Oct. 7, the Pacific conference will cease to exist after this school year.
Newberg athletic director Tim Burke had pushed to keep the conference together, but at the same time was excited by the challenge of moving to a nine-member Three Rivers league featuring the Tigers, Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, Canby, Lake Oswego, Lakeridge, West Linn and St. Marys Academy.
However, the move means that Newberg will be separated from its biggest and most traditional rival, McMinnville, as well as fellow small college town Forest Grove the two schools to which Burke had prioritized remaining connected.
So while hes fine with where Newberg High School is headed, he cant help but feel sad about whats being left behind.
Its hard for me to think of Newberg, Forest Grove and McMinnville not being in the same league, Burke said. I dont get into the rivalry because I didnt grow up and live in it like a lot of our families, but if youre going to put schools in a league, it makes sense to do it based on similar demographics, similar challenges. Were three small college towns. We have the same issues and problems McMinnville and Forest Grove have, and some of the same successes.
The latest reshuffling of leagues was spurred by Portland Pubic Schools request to group all of its schools, including far-less populated Jefferson and Roosevelt, into a single Portland Interscholastic League that would compete in 6A.
Burke said he understands the PILs request because it was done with the same goal he had in mind for the Pacific Conference, it just so happens that to achieve it in Portland will scuttle it in Newberg.
In addition the timing of the request coming so late in the process, Burke couldnt help but think of the mismatch that happened when Newbergs boys soccer team took on Jefferson, having to hold back in a game they won 14-0 this fall.
The PIL is trying to do what I just said about Newberg, Mac and Forest Grove, put schools together that have some commonalities so they can work together, Burke said. So I get what theyre trying to do. I think they should have done it at the 5A level, maybe not the 6A.
Burke said the response he received from Newberg coaches when he informed them of the impending move, which will be finalized at an Oct. 28 OSAA delegate assembly, has been positive
Its going to be a challenge and were going to get after it, Burke said. Our coaches are excited and theyre talking very positive and that its going to be fun.
Burke added that he would like to schedule games with both McMinnville and Forest Grove, but that in the past scheduling non-league games has been done more by league than by school to ensure no one is left out.
With other natural rivals, like West Linn and Oregon City, which along with Clackamas is moving to the Mount Hood Conference, also being split up with the reshuffling, he has hope accommodations will be made.
Those two have been going at it for as long as Newberg, Forest Grove and Mac, for 100 years, Burke said. So I think it makes sense to allow those things to continue to happen.
Newberg already has relationships with some current Three Rivers Schools at the youth level, but joked that he hesitates to refer to it as the TRL considering just four schools in the new alignment will have been from that league.
It will be exciting and Im looking forward to it, Burke said. Our kids will step up. The meet challenges right and left every day and this will be no different.