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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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WIAA reps ponder trying financial times

Financing high school sports and maintaining the viability of the Washington State Interscholastic Activities Association was the topic of discussion by district representatives during the March 25 meeting of WIAA Executive Board.

Reps from the nine state districts that make up the WIAA all gave reports during the meeting. Summarized in the minutes were thoughts of school officials discussing ways of adapting during this time of economic downturn.

Topics ranged from potentially eliminating athletic directors and reducing numbers of games, to doing away with regional play and realigning leagues. Expect some of that to hit locally.

But cutting sports would be counterproductive, one representative said.

In his experience, District 9 board member Ken Lindgren said in his report, when middle school programs have been eliminated in the past as a cost-cutting measure, increased disciplinary issues and lack of school involvement resulted. Programs were reinstated the following year.

Ed Ploof, from District 3, reported also that when the Kent School District held public meetings to determine future cost-cutting measures, the community refused to eliminate any programs. Locally, District 8’s Al Falkner, from Gonzaga Prep, said that schools here remain committed to maintaining all levels of programs, including freshmen teams.

Among other options, Loren Sandhop from Moses Lake said that when two districts “glue” for the purpose of potentially securing an additional state berth for leagues allotted just one, it increases travel costs. He said District 6 may request that WIAA board eliminate the policy. As Tri-City Herald’s Rene Ferran wrote in his blog, that could bode ill for the Greater Spokane League 4A schools (and the Northeast A).

In other discussions, district reps talked about reducing the numbers of games at the junior varsity and C squad levels. Board president Henry Karnofski from District 4 said some leagues are seeking to realign as a means to reduce travel costs at the expense of gaining greater access to state tournaments, which has driven league alignments.

Deer Park’s Joe Feist put District 7 on record in support of the 16-team state basketball format that is undergoing scrutiny.

Recorded in the minutes was Ploof’s conclusion that the top goal of the Executive Board is to “insure” the financial stability of the WIAA and to “support” the financial stability of member schools.

Seems to me it should be the other way around. Insuring stable finances of member schools’ athletic programs must be the No. 1 priority or there may ultimately be no mission for the WIAA.

Pasco Invitational

Twenty-two area schools are among the nearly 100 that plan to have athletes competing at Saturday’s 48th annual Pasco Invitational track and field meet. The day-long meet begins with the pole vault at 9:30 a.m. All but two of 19 Greater Spokane and Great Northern league schools will be there.

Based on best times, numerous athletes are ranked near the top of their events.

A sampling from that performance list: Girls to watch are last year’s 1-2 Pasco 1,600 finishers Baylee Mires, Mead, and Andrea Nelson, Shadle Park; meet pole vault runner-up Tasha Clark, Mead; sprinters Kelsey Lin, Ferris, and Shelby Maurer, Cheney; hurdles placer Maddy Fuchs, University; high jumper Kira Winston, Mead; Chewelah long jumper Liz Cobb; javelin throwers Bianca Pope, Shadle, Emilee Deishl, Central Valley, and Caity Cunningham, Lewis and Clark.

Among boys to watch are defending 800 champion Brad Whitley, CV, also a part of last year’s meet 1,600 relay champs; numerous distance standouts from North Central, Ferris and Gonzaga Prep; 6-foot-8 high jumper AJ Maricich, Mead; several 22-foot long jumpers, CV’s Greg Barnes among them; near-46-foot triple jumpers, including CV’s Evander Cobbs; discus thrower Will Lohman, Chewelah; and 190-plus javelin thrower Justin Graff, Mead.

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