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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Numbers don’t always add up to a clear answer

Greg Lee The Spokesman-Review

The reclassification shuffle that takes place every three years goes into effect next fall. Which means Post Falls will move from the 4A ranks and join the big kids in 5A.

That will be the lone move in our parts. Sandpoint’s enrollment numbers under the two reporting counts last year allow the Bonner County school to get a reprieve for at least three years.

Some, including myself, thought Sandpoint would choose to play up with the bigger schools – if for no other reason than to preserve rivalries and renew rivalries. But Sandpoint decided to stay in the 4A neighborhood with Lakeland and Moscow.

It means that Sandpoint will be the biggest 4A school in the state next year, and by a sizeable amount, too. Based on last year’s numbers sent to the state Department of Education, Sandpoint averaged 1,258 for the two reporting periods. The next closest were Hillcrest of Idaho Falls (1,179), Pocatello (1,169), Mountain Home (1,152) and Blackfoot (1,137).

Sandpoint might well have 5A numbers (1,280 or higher) next year while slipping under the recent radar. Sandpoint opened the 2005-2006 school year with 1,350 students. In its defense, the opening-week enrollment is historically inflated until the number is massaged after no-shows and dropouts are identified.

In the past I’ve been sympathetic to those who have staunchly argued that the 5A and 4A schools should be combined in one classification. The argument has merit.

Still, I’m torn. My boss would prefer that I come out strongly on one side or the other – perhaps for no other reason than to stir up conversation. I can’t adamantly say that Sandpoint belongs in the 5A ranks and I can’t steadfastly say that Sandpoint belongs in 4A. Can you say “fence rider?”

Some of Sandpoint’s programs would be among the state’s best in 5A. Some of Sandpoint’s programs are best suited for 4A because they would get beaten like a drum against the bigger schools.

•Post Falls isn’t the lone 4A school moving up next year. The Trojans will be joined by Caldwell and current powers Vallivue and Madison.

Petitions by Vallivue and Caldwell to remain in 4A were denied by the 4A superintendents.

•Orofino appeared destined to join the 3A Intermountain League next year, but the school’s petition to stay in 2A was approved by the 2A superintendents.

Another Viking injured

Another Coeur d’Alene High athlete suffered a knee injury, requiring season-ending surgery.

Ali Johnson, the Inland Empire League’s newcomer of the year as a freshman last year, tore an ACL at a California basketball camp for point guards in mid-August. She had surgery before school started.

“She did a 2-foot jump stop and it went,” CdA coach Dale Poffenroth said. “She got off crutches (last week) and is in a walking brace.”

Johnson played with uncommon poise as a starter last year. Her rehabilitation is expected to take at least six months.

“She’s doing pretty good,” Poffenroth said. “She’s a pretty driven kid. She’ll be playing by next summer and I don’t think you’ll notice any difference by next season.”

Vikings junior Michael Armon, the 5A state cross country champ last year, also is recovering from a season-ending knee injury suffered at a summer camp.

“It’s weird. It seems to be going around the school,” Poffenroth said, noting that about four students are recovering from knee surgeries.

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