The WIAA Executive Board have been busy this past few weeks dealing with re-classification but they had plenty of other work to do as well. The highlights included re-shuffling dates for State Slowpitch and Spring sports. None of the changes will go into effect until next year.
Currently, Slowpitch plays the last weekend of October and now will be the week prior or 3rd weekend of October. Next season the tournament will be on October 18 and 19.
For years many folks have been hoping for a change in the Spring sports schedule that was always the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Part of reasoning was they wanted to give as much time as possible for games and events to be played in as good of weather as possible especially baseball. There is also a push from high schools from extending the finals into the month of June because of graduations, schools winding down and simply kids and parents preparing for summer and ready for the school year to be over.
One of the big issues with having all the Spring postseason tournaments on the same 2 or 3 days is the individual split sports of golf and tennis. Some league compete in golf and or tennis in the Fall but the State Tournaments are in the Spring. So a kid could qualify for State tennis in October then have to wait to compete in May. That same kid may also turnout for another Spring sport and if they qualify or their team qualifies that kid then has to choose which sport to compete in the Spring and gives up their chance at one of the 2 sports they qualified. The only sport where you may be able to do both was golf which played their tournaments on Tuesday and Wednesday of the last full week of May.
With the new schedule this will allow those golf and tennis players for the most part to compete in both sports they may qualify, the only potential conflict will be fastpitch. If a fastpitch player has also qualified for tennis or golf they will have to make a choice.
The new Spring schedule, again begins in 2025, will have boys and girls golf, tennis and fastpitch the weekend prior to Memorial Day weekend and boys soccer, baseball and boys and girls track and field will stay in their current position.
The change is welcome by others as well, especially the media. Spring was the only season that the state tournaments weren’t spread out over several weeks allowing reporters and media a chance to cover more sports. With the current state of media with so many reductions in staffing this will help all of those covering high school sports a much better chance to report on the Spring tournaments.
The Executive Board also finalized the State Baseball Tournament sites. 4A and 3A will be played a Gesa Stadium in Pasco, 2A and 1A will remain in Bellingham at Joe Martin Stadium and 2B and 1B at Ephrata High School.
These items were finalized and will go into effect while another issue had whats called a second reading. This proposal would drop the minimum number of teams to get a 16 team tournament from 50 down to 45. The current breakdown is classifications with 84 or more schools get a 24 team bracket tournament. There has never been a 24 team tournament to date. There have been 20-team tournaments and that’s for classifications with 69-83 teams, currently 3A and some 1B sports fall into the 20 team parameters.
The traditional 16 team bracket is for classifications with 50-68 teams, classifications with 37-49 teams get a 12 team bracket and 20-36 an 8 team bracket.
The Board is dropping the bottom end of the 16 team bracket to 45 so the change would give classifications with teams 45-68 the 16 team bracket and the 12 team bracket would drop between 37-44.
It is important to know this is based on the actual number of teams playing and not the number of schools in a classification. For example the re-classification count has 54 schools in the 2B classification but not every school plays football and some have dropped down to the 1B 8-man football and they fall below minimum 50 teams playing 11-man football so last year they had a 12-team bracket. Dropping it to 45 may allow them enough room to have the 16 team bracket.
This is not yet official but it is believed there is no significant opposition to the slight adjustment and is expected to passed in a 3rd and final reading at either of the final 2 Executive Board meetings for this school year.