Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Small schools will have two state championships

Next school year in basketball, volleyball

The Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) seems bound and determined to hand out more state tournament championship trophies for success in team athletics.

More state championship trophies are in store for basketball, volleyball and, down the line, for tennis as well.

During its Aug. 1 board meeting in Boise, the governing body of Idaho prep athletics decided to split the small school 1A category (159 students or below in grades 9-12) into two divisions for girls' and boys' basketball and for volleyball.

Using numbers in effect for 1A Division 1 and Division 2 football since 2004, the 29 schools in Division 1 would have 100-159 student enrollments. The 29 schools in Division 2 would be 99-and-below.

The IHSAA approved decision would start with the 2008-10 classification cycle—meaning it wouldn't take effect until the 2008-09 seasons.

Schools like Castleford (projected enrollment 100 for 2008-10) and Raft River (101) that are right on the borderline. So, schools desiring to petition up or down in classification in 1A must do so during the IHSAA meeting in September.

The recent IHSAA decision will cause a major realignment of the current Magic Valley 1A Northside and Southside conferences. Also, future 1A state tournaments will in all probability become three-day, eight-team affairs rather than four-day, 16-team tournaments.

The Community School of Sun Valley (119 students) would be installed into Division 1 with bigger schools like Shoshone (138), Hagerman (135), Hansen (117), Oakley (108), Raft River and Castleford.

Carey School (74), normally a state contender in basketball, would lose traditional rivals like Shoshone and The Community School unless it petitions up to 1A Division 1—and then it would abandon close-to-home rivals like Richfield (69), Dietrich (51), Camas County (65) and Bliss (59).

In other IHSAA action at its eventful Aug. 1 board meeting:

The board tentatively approved establishing separate state championships in tennis for girls and for boys. Mixed doubles will continue to be played, but the points in mixed will be split among the boys and girls for purposes of state team championship totals.

In basketball, the IHSAA voted to make the basketball mercy rule mandatory during regular-season games but not in state playoff or state tournament games. So, the mercy rule (a running clock except for time outs) will be invoked when the point differential is 30 points or greater starting with the fourth quarter.

The IHSAA also approved a combined girls' soccer co-op between Clark Fork and Sandpoint High Schools in northern Idaho, meaning Sandpoint will now compete at the 5A level for girls' soccer instead of 4A.

It is significant because only four-time winner Sandpoint (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004) and Century of Pocatello (2003, 2005, 2006) have won State 4A girls' soccer tournament championships since the IHSAA took over soccer sanctioning.

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