With Hanford becoming the fifth Class 4A school in the Mid-Columbia Conference, 3A schools Kamiakin, Kennewick and Southridge are in a bit of a postseason pickle.
In general, for every four schools, one state berth is generated. The MCC combines with the Greater Spokane League for District 5/8 regional playoffs in most sports.
Right now, with allocations set up on a two-year basis, the seven 3A MCC/GSL teams are set to battle for one state berth this year and two next year.
“Because of this, we (the MCC and GSL) have submitted a request to the WIAA (Washington Interscholastic Activities Association) to ‘glue’ our top two regional teams to another district this year in hopes that we can ‘steal’ their last berth, which would give us two,” Kamiakin athletic director Casey Gant said in an email. “In order to glue to a district we have to put our one guaranteed berth on the line for them to possibly steal as well.”
For instance, if the other district were allocated five berths to state, its No. 6 team would play the MCC/GSL regional winner, while the MCC/GSL regional runner-up would face the other district’s No. 5 team.
If the “glue” proposal isn’t approved, one state berth could be a tough pill for MCC and GSL teams to swallow.
In football, Kennewick and Kamiakin advanced to the 3A state playoffs in 2015, while Shadle Park and Mt. Spokane made it in 2014.
In 3A boys cross country, North Central is the 10-time defending state champion, and Kamiakin has been the runner-up the past four years.
Kamiakin coach Matt Rexus is preparing his runners for the possibility that the team might not compete beyond regionals.
“We’re hoping for the best and planning for the worst,” he said. “We’re training like there’s one spot, and if we don’t win, we don’t get it.”
Gant said schools will have a definite idea of what’s happening by the end of September, but it won’t give them much time to figure out the regional playoff setups.
“The issue we are facing now is that we don’t know what district the WIAA will glue us to, and we have no idea when and where those games/meets will be,” Gant said. “Because we are requesting the glue, we will be guaranteed that both our teams will travel to them and play whatever format they set up — we have no leverage.”
In 4A, the 11 MCC/GSL schools have two state berths this year. Next year, they get three.
In swimming, a sport the GSL doesn’t have, the MCC schools will join up with the Greater St. Helens League for the boys and girls district meets.
4A: Chiawana, Hanford, Pasco, Richland, Walla Walla
3A: Kamiakin, Kennewick, Southridge
GREATER SPOKANE LEAGUE
4A: Central Valley, Ferris, Gonzaga Prep, Lewis & Clark, Mead, University
3A: Mt. Spokane, North Central, Rogers, Shadle Park