The WIAA announced Monday which venues will host the 2019 WIAA football state championships. It’s good news for Pierce County, as all the games will be held in the area.
The six championship games will be held at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, Harry E. Lang Stadium in Lakewood and Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma.
All games will be scheduled as doubleheaders on Dec. 7, with the first games kicking off at noon, followed by a 4 p.m. start for the second. Mount Tahoma Stadium will host the Class 1B and 4A championships, Sparks Stadium will host the 3A and 2A championships, and Harry E. Lang Stadium will host the 1A and 2B championships.
The three stadiums are located within 13 miles of one another, which the WIAA said will allow fans the opportunity to see multiple games during the day. A ticket purchased at any location will provide valid entry for all three sites.
“The mission of the WIAA staff and Executive Board was to find three locations that were close in proximity to each other and could handle the needs of a WIAA State Championship,” said WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman in a statement. “We are grateful for each of the site managers who made these great stadiums available as we believe they will provide a terrific atmosphere for the biggest games of the year.”
The WIAA executive board voted in June not to renew its contract with the Tacoma Dome as the host site for the six football state championships, citing fan experience and the rising cost of using the Dome as primary reasons behind the decision.
“Ultimately, the Executive Board needed to evaluate whether holding the Gridiron Classic in the Tacoma Dome made sense for the Association, student-participants and fans,” said former WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese in June. “Costs of renting the facility have continued to increase and WIAA staff received criticisms regarding the new seating arrangement for football.”
Colbrese said at the time that cost was the biggest factor, but the poor sight lines for fans after the Dome’s renovation were also a big factor.
“The sight lines really took a hit with the new seating,” Colbrese said. “We totally support the Dome renovation and we knew they needed to do it. They were in contact with us from the get-go. With the majority of events they do, they needed to change that configuration.”
Colbrese, who retired in August, said the decision didn’t come easily for the WIAA. The Tacoma Dome has hosted all high school title games since 1995 and had some involvement in the state football playoffs dating to 1983.
The Board approved the sites and times but also noted that if two schools from similar geographic areas in central or eastern Washington advance to a Championship game, they may have the option to play the game locally at a mutually agreed upon site pending WIAA approval. If agreement from the three parties cannot be reached, the game will be played as originally scheduled.
The full schedule for the championship games on Dec. 7:
- 1B Championship: Mount Tahoma Stadium - (Tacoma) – 12 p.m.
- 2B Championship: Harry E. Lang Stadium - (Lakewood) – 4 p.m.
- 1A Championship: Harry E. Lang Stadium - (Lakewood) – 12 p.m.
- 2A Championship: Sparks Stadium – (Puyallup) – 4 p.m.
- 3A Championship: Sparks Stadium – (Puyallup) – 12 p.m.
- 4A Championship: Mount Tahoma Stadium - (Tacoma) – 4 p.m.