November 7, 1996 in Washington Voices

Growing To Gsl? As The Biggest School In Thr Frontier League, East Valley High Is Enjoying Good Success In Sports, But The School Is Debating A Move Into The Gsl That Might Change That

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tags:prep

Change in Washington Interscholastic Activity Association enrollment classifications has created a window of opportunity for East Valley High School’s athletics program.

Scheduled to leave the Frontier League and enter the Greater Spokane League next year, the school has received a two-year stay.

“For the past two years we’ve been a AAA school playing in a AA league because of our last enrollment,” said EV principal Jeff Miller. “We got a surprise last May when they changed the numbers.”

The enrollment window has shed little light for school board members who are faced with a difficult decision about whether to go ahead now with the move to the GSL or stay temporarily in the Frontier League. A parent meeting Oct. 29 didn’t make the board’s task any easier.

Presently, the state’s high schools are broken into four athletic classifications: AAA, AA, A and B. Starting next year, there will be five classifications: 4A, 3A, 2A, A and B.

The GSL embraced the newly created 4A classification for schools with enrollments of 1,201 students and more.

Based upon its current enrollment, 1,162, East Valley has the option of remaining for two more years in the Frontier League, which will carry a 3A designation.

East Valley’s enrollment projections for the next three years are 1,253, 1,291 and 1,267 students.

Those numbers put it closer in size to GSL schools than to those in the Frontier, where the second-largest school has an enrollment that is currently 400 fewer than EV’s.

School board members must decide on Nov. 12 whether East Valley goes into the GSL as originally intended.

A majority of the 60 or so people who spoke at a parents meeting last week came out voiced opposition to such a move.

“They (school officials) basically didn’t take into consideration what the students felt,” said Pam Cook, whose daughters run cross country and track at EV. “The conclusion is most do not want to go. We’ve just started winning. Why destroy that?”

East Valley has become the big fish in a smaller pond and is enjoying it.

The Knights this year have won three Frontier League fall sports championships and were contenders for the other two. Miller said that every team at every level - varsity, junior varsity and freshman - has had a winning record.

“We’re having success and have a (league) tradition parents don’t want to ruin before we have to.” said Miller. “It’s a hot issue.”

In making their decision, board members must consider other factors as well. Next year, because of the new classifications, the Frontier League will likely drop from seven to five schools, even if EV remains.

Both Riverside and Pullman will become 2A schools under the new enrollment guidelines.

Appeals this week to the WIAA by West Valley and Colville sought to separate alternative high school students from their enrollment count for sports purposes. A favorable ruling on the appeals would reduce the Frontier League to rubble.

“In a worst-case scenario,” said Miller, “East Valley, Clarkston and Cheney would be the only teams left.”

What then, is East Valley to do?

“There are so many different proposals, so many hopes and maybes, we’re still waiting for things to shake loose,” said board member June Sine. “I can tell you for sure the five board members have not made a decision.”

The parents group opposing the move into the GSL is not so sure and is lobbying to change board members’ minds.

“We’ve heard it’s a done deal,” said Al Katzenberger, whose daughter, Cara Smith, also runs track and cross country. “Just like any parent we want to know why, if we are under in classification, we are going in.”

East Valley has evolved in 30 years from a school that was the smallest in the now-defunct Border League, which included current GSL schools Central Valley, University and Mead when it joined during the 1968-69 season, to the eighth-largest school in the Spokane area.

It’s enrollment is roughly comparable to CV’s, larger than U-Hi’s and nearly doubleWV’s. When Mead splits into two high schools next year it will be in the middle of GSL enrollments.

It became a charter member of the Frontier League which formed as an offshoot of the Border League in 1973. Two years ago, based on present classification standards, EV figured it was GSL-bound.

“Part of my understanding when I took the position,” said third-year Knight baseball coach Kurt Krauth, “was that we were to get our programs ready. That was the direction we were headed and I like that direction.”

His opinion isn’t unanimous among East Valley coaches, who want to stay put for as long as possible.

“I understand the hesitancy,” Krauth said. “There’s always a fear of the unknown. There hasn’t been a huge winning tradition out here.”

Weighing all those factors, said East Valley superintendent Chuck Stocker, makes the board decision a tough call.

“There are a lot of reasons to stay and a lot of reasons to go up,” he said. “I still lean toward that direction (moving into the GSL), but if we want community input and not give it credence, why ask for it?”

Krauth, too, said he can accept either decision but is confident that with the right instruction and coaching support a move into the GSL can be successful.

“I have a lot of faith in the kids,” he said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 3 photos (1 color)

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: LEAGUE ENROLLMENTS Here’s how East Valley High School’s enrollment compares to schools in both the Greater Spokane League and the Frontier League:

Greater Spokane League Mead 1,919 * Ferris 1,496 Rogers 1,404 Shadle Park 1,392 Lewis and Clark 1,306 Central Valley 1,262 North Central 1,203 East Valley 1,162 University 1,073 Gonzaga Prep 692

* Mead High School’s enrollment will be split next year when the new Mount Spokane High School opens. Mead School District officials have said both high schools will compete in the GSL.

Frontier League

East Valley 1,162 Clarkston 716 Cheney 706 Colville 652 West Valley 634 Riverside 601 Pullman 487

This sidebar appeared with the story: LEAGUE ENROLLMENTS Here’s how East Valley High School’s enrollment compares to schools in both the Greater Spokane League and the Frontier League:

Greater Spokane League Mead 1,919 * Ferris 1,496 Rogers 1,404 Shadle Park 1,392 Lewis and Clark 1,306 Central Valley 1,262 North Central 1,203 East Valley 1,162 University 1,073 Gonzaga Prep 692

* Mead High School’s enrollment will be split next year when the new Mount Spokane High School opens. Mead School District officials have said both high schools will compete in the GSL.

Frontier League

East Valley 1,162 Clarkston 716 Cheney 706 Colville 652 West Valley 634 Riverside 601 Pullman 487

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