This was the first year that the selection committees were used tp seed all team sports into the state tournaments. This process uses a mix of information from standings and scores to the RPI index to private rankings. In the end though it is a human committee that determines the seeds into each sports tournaments and can take other things into consideration that raw data can not such as important injuries both not available or those returning to action to several close call games to any other information the committee members can share with each other and then they make their decisions.
The WIAA had tested this process with football for a few years prior to the pandemic and found they were very successful in seeding with a human touch and not relying simply on data. This led to moving this process to all team sports and in 2021-22 they finally got to put that process into action for the 1st time across the board.
So that made us ask, “How’d they do?” It is a mixed answer in the end with some shining examples of it working to nearly perfection but other examples the committee missed the mark significantly. Below we have reviewed each tournament and applied a scoring system based only on the final results. Is there room for discussion on our method, yes of course but it is a fairly simple method we used across the board to measure the success of the seeds.
Before we go any further let us say very clearly this is not a support or disapprove opinion piece but rather a look at how successful the seeding process was, are there any trends and if so are they good trends or missed trends and if so why and what do the committees need and want to do to be as accurate as possible.
We also point out no tournament that is seeded is meant to have any upsets at all, quite the opposite the seeded tournaments are set up for the higher seed to win each contest. This is why in a 16 team tournament in the 1st round the 1 seed faces the 16 and if they win they will get the 8 or 9 seed. If the #15 upsets in the 1st round they would get the 7 or 10 seed because these tournaments are not re-seeded after every round. Side note we would be 1,000% against re-seeding brackets after each round we hope that is never even a discussion.
Why against re-seeding? Because we love the chaos that upsets bring, we love the fact that this past Spring three 12-seeds played in a Championship game and won two of them. We also think it’s unfair if a team was overlooked and they pull the upset then to have to face the highest seed again in round 2. To us, that’s the beauty of seeded tournaments is when upsets happen and there is that chaos.
Today we are releasing our grades for the Fall sports, on Monday will be Winter, next Wednesday the Spring sports and a week from today all of our grades in one report with our overall thoughts and observations.
Let’s get to the Fall sports!
We’ll begin with the most experienced and maybe the easiest in the end with as much focus as football receives the selection committees were outstanding. 5 #1 seeds were State Champions with the 6th in the title game losing to the #2.
**Football awards 1st and 2nd, the losers of the Semi-finals are both 3rd and the losers of the quarter finals are all 5th.
4A Bracket: Graham-Kapowsin was the hot team coming in and they never cooled off as the #1 team dominated start to finish and beat #3 Lake Stevens for the Championship. The semi-finals had the 1-2-3-4 seeds perfect. And the committee was nearly perfect in the quarters as well with seeds 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 all correct but #9 beat #8 in the opening round. That and the 3 seed advancing to the Championship were the only 2 misses. Our Grade A.
3A Bracket: This bracket is the one with the biggest miss with the 3 and 4 seeds not making the semi-finals. #1 Bellevue did roll into the Championship game rather easily where they faced #6 Kennewick who defeated #3 O’Dea and #2 Eastside Catholic in the quarters and then semi’s to reach the title game. The Lions gave Bellevue all they wanted losing the title game 17-13. #5 Marysville-Pilchuck also beat #4 Yelm in the quarters so the semi-finals were 2 vs 6 and 1 vs 5. Our Grade B.
2A Bracket: The 2A committee were nearly perfect they had the 1 and 2 seeds in the Championship game, they had the top 4 seeds in the semi-finals and they had the top 7 and the 9 seed in the quarter finals. Their only misses were 2 seed Lynden beating Tumwater and #9 Enumclaw knocking out #8 Hockinson. Pretty close to perfect. Our Grade A.
1A Bracket: The 1A committee kinda has an easy time of choosing #1, no one would question just putting Royal #1 and then the rest and that’s how it worked out this year. So who would be #2? Eatonville and they earned it getting into the title game with the Knights. #3 Lynden Christian advanced to the semi’s but the committee missed barely on a perfect final 4 with #5 Kings advancing beating #4 Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) 10-7 in the quarters. The final 8 though the committee was just off with 1-7 seeds in with the 9 seed Toppenish who knocked out the 8 seed Mount Baker. Our Grade A.
2B Bracket: The 2B’s were a 12-team tournament but still missed a little which was understandable. The Central 2B remains the dominant force and in the quarterfinals 5 of the 8 teams were all from the Central 2B. Kalama was 1, Napavine 2 and they would play for the Championship with Kalama winning. But Onalaska was the 5 seed and they beat the 12 in the 1st round 62-8 and then the 4 seed who had a bye 54-15. Forks the 10 seed beat the 7 35-20 and Toledo was the 9 and we saw yet another 9 defeat the 8. The final 4 was the 1-2-3-5, had Ony been the 4 seed they would have been perfect but that meant putting 3 teams in the top 4 from 1 league that will always be difficult for any committee to do. Our Grade A-.
1B Bracket: The 1B committee we will start by saying they nailed the 8-9 seeds as the only classification’s 8 seed that beat the 9. They also had the 1 targeted in Almira-Coulee-Hartline. But #3 Quilcene knocked out #2 Odessa in the semi’s and #5 Naselle defeated #4 Pomeroy in the quarters. The other upset was #11 Winlock beating #6 DeSales in the opening round. Our Grade: B+
Overall Football Grade: A-
Now we begin all the other sports who were doing this for the 1st time. You can see Football’s experience and understanding of how the committees work has them down the road a bit. The rest of the year there are hits and misses as you will see within each sport.
**In Volleyball they award trophies 1st through 8th place.
4A Bracket: The committee did hit seeds 1-2-3-4-5 all in the trophy round with 1 seed Bothell beating the 2 seed Curtis for the Championship. The quarterfinals we saw both the 11 and 14 seeds in and was the only tournament with 2 double digit seeds in the quarters. #4 Graham-Kapowsin took 3rd over 4th place 14 seeded West Valley of Yakima. #5 Camas was 5th, #11 Mount Rainier 6th while the 3 seed Lake Stevens was 7th and 9 seed Olympia 8th. The biggest miss was #14 West Valley getting into the semi-finals. Our Grade B.
3A Bracket: The selection committee was dealt a huge blow early when the #1 seed Lakeside was stunned by #8 Auburn Riverside in the quarters. Lakeside then lost in the consolation and did not trophy. But in the quarters they did have seeds 1-2-3-4-5-7-8 and 11 still alive for the top trophy. The semi-finals were the 2-3-4 and 8 seeds with #4 Mead beating #2 Peninsula for the Championship. #3 Ferndale took 3rd, #8 Auburn Riverside was 4th, 5 seed Mt Spokane 5th, the 11 seed Arlington 6th, 12 seeded Kelso 7th and 6 seed Bishop Blanchet 8th. Our Grade B-.
2A Bracket: The 2A was perfect into the semi-finals with the 1-2-3-4 seeds all in and advancing was 1 seed Columbia River and 3 seed Ridgefield with Columbia River winning. We don’t ding the committee in this case because the two teams are in the same league and same district so it’s hard to justify a 2 seed to a non league or district champion, in fact we give them credit for putting the 2nd team as high as they did at #3 in a 16 team tournament. #2 Steilacoom took 3rd over #4 Burlington-Edison. The committee was solid over all with the 7 seed White River taking 5th, #9 Anacortes 6th with the outsiders sneaking in the 7th/8th place match and #16 Mark Morris finishing 7th with #11 Enumclaw 8th. Our Grade B+, having the 16 seed trophy kept them from an A-.
1A Bracket: The committee had a rough debut at the 1A level with not only a 16 seed knocking off the 1 seed in the 1st match but that 16 seed making it to the Championship. The 11 and 13 seeds also made it to the trophy round. But the committee overall in the quarterfinals wasn’t off but the big miss at #1 with the 2-7 and the 16 seeds all in position to win the Championship. #2 Chelan did beat #16 L-C for the title, #6 Meridian knocked off #4 Annie Wright for 3rd place, #8 Freeman was 5th, #7 Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) 6th with #11 Charles Wright 7th and #13 Seattle Academy 8th. Our Grade C-.
2B Bracket: The committee did right with the 1 seed but missed on the 2-3-4 in the semi-finals. However in the quarters they were strong with the 1 thru 7 seeds and the 9 seed, almost perfect but then the 2-3-4 seeds all lost in the quarters. 1 seed La Conner took it all beating #6 Walla Walla Academy for the title. #5 Manson was 3rd over #7 Raymond, #2 Colfax was 5th, 4 seed Goldendale 6th and the 13 seed Liberty (Spangle) beat 11 seeded Adna Pirates for 7th. Our Grade B-.
1B Bracket: Even though only a 12-team tournament, the 1B’s were the most successful with a perfect quarterfinal of seeds 1 thru 8 into a perfect semi-final seeds 1 thru 4 and a perfect 1st thru 4th placing with #1 Oakesdale as Champion, #2 Mossyrock 2nd, 3rd #3 St John Endicott-LaCrosse and 4th #4 Odessa. The consolation bracket saw a few upsets with #8 Naselle 5th over #7 Mary Walker and #9 Pomeroy took 7th with #15 Shoreline Christian taking 8th. Our Grade A.
Overall Volleyball Grade: B
Girls and “B” Boys Soccer
**Soccer awards trophies 1st thru 4th and quarterfinal losing teams are listed as 5th place.
4A Bracket: This committee was our 2nd most accurate on our point system but still some misses including the 6 seed in the Championship match. The quarterfinals had the 1 thru 8 except the 12 seed beat the 5 seed. Moving on to the semi-finals were the 1-2-4 and 6 seeds with #1 Camas beating the 6 seeded Issaquah Eagles. #2 Richland took 3rd over #4 Skyline. Losing the 3 seed in the quarters and the #2 in the semi’s knocked down the grade. Our Grade B.
3A Bracket: The committee did pretty well in the final 4 with the 1-2-3 seeds all in but a glaring miss was #13 Seattle Prep who not only made it to the final 4 they advanced to the Championship match against #3 Lakeside (Seattle) where their magical run ran out of steam settling for 2nd. The 2 seed Holy Names beat #1 Gig Harbor in the 3rd/4th place match. In the quarterfinals 2 other misses with the 9 and the 11 seeds joining #13 seattle Prep in the final 8. It was a hit and miss bracket. Our Grade C.
2A Bracket: The 2A committee scored the highest with seeds 1 thru 7 and the 9 seed in the quarterfinals just missing a perfect run. But a few upsets led to the 5 and 7 seeds advancing to the semi-finals and #1 Archbishop Murphy playing #7 Hockinson for the Championship with the Wildcats winning. #5 Columbia River defeated #3 Ridgefield for 3rd. We also give the committee a little more latitude in this bracket with Hockinson, Ridgefield and Columbia River all coming from the GSHL 2A. It is tough to stack teams from the same league in tournament seeding. Our Grade: B.
1A Bracket: The committee scored 2nd lowest in our overall point system despite doing well in the final 4 getting the 1-3-4 seeds in with the 7 seed. Two things worked against the committee is the 3 and 4 played for the title with #3 Deer Park winning it all and #4 Seattle Academy 2nd while #1 Klahowya took 3rd over #7 Montesano. The bigger problem was in the final 8 with the 9, 12 and 15 seeds all making the quarterfinals. #15 Tenino knocked out the 2 seed and #12 The Bush School eliminated the 5 seed. Our Grade C.
2B/1B Bracket: This committee had just 12 teams to work with and struggled with their 1 and 4 seeds getting knocked out in the quarterfinals. Additionally, #11 Reardan beat the 6 seed to get to the quarters. In the final 4 seeds 2 and 3 battled with Kalama the 2 seed advancing to the Championship and in the other semi-final the 5 and 8 seeds played with 8 seed Adna getting to the title game. #2 Kalama won the Title, #8 Adna was 2nd while #3 Highland finished 3rd and #5 Toledo settled for 4th. Our Grade C+.
2B/1B Bracket: The committee only had 8 teams to deal with but they did it nearly perfectly. In the opening round only the 4 seed was upset with Friday Harbor defeating Prescott. The Final 4 were the 1-2-3 and 5 seeds and that’s how they finished with 1 seed Orcas Island winning the Championship, #2 Providence Classical Christian 2nd, #3 Crosspoint 3rd and 5th seeded Friday Harbor 4th. Our Grade A.
Overall Fall Soccer Grade: B-
Overall Girls Soccer Grade: C+
**We will include the B boys grade in with the other boys tournaments that are in the spring for an overall boys grade as well.
**Slowpitch awards 1st thru 4th with quarterfinal losers placing 5th.
4A Bracket: This is an 8 team bracket and although they got the Champion correct but just barely, they missed on the 2-3-4 seeds. #1 Chiawana defeated the 7 seed 13-12 for the Championship while #5 West Valley of Yakima took 3rd over #8 Battle Ground. The Semi-Finals out of 8 teams were 1-5-6-7. Our Grade C.
3A/2A Bracket: Also an 8 team bracket and the committee was perfect with the top 4 advancing to the semi-finals and the 5 and 6 seeds winning in the consolation. But they had the seeds upside down for the final 4 with 4 seed University winning the State Championship over #2 Kelso while #1 Mt Spokane did beat 3 seed Hermiston for 3rd place. Our Grade: B.
Overall Slowpitch Grade: B-
Reminder our Winter grades which is the boys and girls State Basketball Tournaments will be out on Monday.