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GSL teams handed short end of stick

Thu., Sept. 4, 2008

This likely isn’t the last word on the subject of the change in regional strategy when the Columbia Basin Big Nine Athletic Conference (CBBN) expanded to 11 4A schools.

Because even though Greater Spokane League football is affected, cross country, volleyball and girls basketball could be impacted even more.

Remember the years, particularly in boys cross country, when those GSL sports dominated team berths – up to four?

That, some coaches believe, had more to do with the change in strategy by CBBN folk than last year’s football state sweep.

Back when the regional concept came into play, each league had two state berths in most sports.

Wrestling took the initial step to pool them back in the 1970s to assure that the best athletes participated in the state tournament. For the first nine years, the Big Nine held the upper hand, but over the years things have evened out.

Basketball joined in 1988. While GSL girls lead comfortably, a slight edge has gone to the CBBN boys.

Football has been a different story. Since the “play-in” format began in 1996, the CBBN has a 32-13 advantage, including last year’s three-team Spokane sweep.

But with a 2-to-1 advantage in the number of 4A schools, the balance of power shifted and the new league set the rules to assure that they would get at least one state berth and the advantage of more regional participants dictated by the disparity in the number of schools.

“Their philosophy (based on the original regional ideal) was that no longer would the best teams necessarily advance,” District 8 secretary Randy Ryan said. “It was, ‘Take it or leave it,’ we want to assure a team to state.”

In cross country this year, GSL 4A schools will be limited to two teams and 11 individuals during this year’s regional, which is expected to qualify three teams to state. (That could change a bit during odd years when four teams are anticipated.)

Ryan said he was told that when the GSL proposed a third team from here be added to the regional race, that the CBBN coaches would have rioted and league principals chose not to get involved.

The good news is that the 3A schools, where the GSL has a five-teams-to-three advantage, will continue the idea that every school be represented in their regional for annual state spots.

But the GSL did have to re-do its schedule this year to include a league championship meet at Wandermere, which will serve as the regional qualifier for 4A runners and teams and also count, along with dual meets, in determining final league standings.

New activities advisors

Paul Kautzman was chosen to replace John Miller as activities coordinator at Mt. Spokane and Marty Robinette is assuming a similar role at North Central.

This is Kautzman’s eighth year at Mt. Spokane, where he has taught social studies and been an assistant coach of several sports. He grew up in Valdez, Alaska, and was a head coach at Timberlake.

Robinette has taught at Spokane Public Schools for nearly two decades and was cross country coach at Lewis and Clark in the 1990s before moving into administration and to NC as assistant principal. He replaces Scott Harmon.

GSL grid broadcasts will broadcast live streaming audio of selected GSL football games this year. Also, replays of selected games will be televised on Comcast.

•For the first time in decades, there will be no program provided for sale at games.

Area football notes

The Lakeside-Quincy non-league football game has been moved to Quincy, said Lakeside athletics/activities coordinator Tom Oliver, because of vandalism to the football field and resurfacing of the track. … Northeast 1B football gets an early eye-opener when Odessa, last year’s state runner-up, travels to Cusick, one of this year’s league favorites.


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