OSAA spells change: Big overhaul proposed for classification system

April 2017 Posted in Community, School, Sports

James DayMost adjustments that the Oregon School Activities Association makes in its quadrennial classification and districting work tend to be minor.

The body made a big leap forward for the 2006-7 school year by expanding from four classes to six. Schools had competed in a four-class system since 1974.

And it’s looking like there will be a bit of an earthquake this time, too, with the OSAA committee leaning toward a five-class system for the four-year cycle beginning in the fall of 2018.

Nothing is etched in stone yet, but Silverton likely would wind up in Class 4A in a seven-team Capital Conference that includes Cascade, Molalla, North Salem, Stayton, Wilsonville and Woodburn. Among those schools only Woodburn is currently grouped with Silverton in the Mid-Willamette Conference.

Newport and Sweet Home would replace Silverton and Woodburn in the MWC, which would retain Central, Corvallis, Crescent Valley, Dallas, Lebanon and South Albany.

Jodi Drescher, assistant principal at Silverton, prefers the six-class system and also dislikes the potential conference grouping for the Foxes.

“I still believe the six-class system is the best for all schools – especially from the competitive balance aspect,” Drescher said. “Silverton would fare well in the 4A of this system. The important point, however, is whether this is good for ‘all kids.’ I don’t believe so. To put Silverton, Wilsonville and North Salem in a league with those much smaller schools creates a skewed competitive balance.”

Adjusted enrollment in the new league would range from 1,404 for North Salem, 1,256 for Woodburn, 1,149 for Silverton and 1,077 for Wilsonville at the high end, with Cascade (683), Molalla (662) and Stayton (608) on the low end.

North Salem has been granted a request to “play down” a level, but Drescher said that “in a five-class system I am convinced North Salem will be at the top of the 4A level in a very short time.”

Kennedy, meanwhile, would remain in Class 2A, but the Tri-River Conference is projected to grow a bit, both in terms of the number of schools – and the travel involved.

The core Tri-River group of Central Linn, East Linn Christian, Kennedy, Regis and Santiam would be augmented by Crow, Culver, Jefferson, Monroe and Oakridge, with the Crow, Culver and Oakridge additions imposing more travel burdens.

The committee meets again at 9 a.m. May 22 at the OSAA office in Wilsonville, with the final decision not due until fall. Public testimony is welcome at all meetings and interested parties can email comments and suggestions to Brad Garrett, OSAA assistant executive director, at bradg@osaa.org.

ken-bishop ken-cantuTrack and field update: Kennedy returns a pair of high-scoring athletes to the state meet, Bishop Mitchell and Kaylin Cantu. Mitchell, who will play football next fall at Portland State University, took second in the long jump, 200 meters and pole vault and ran the anchor leg on the 4×100 relay squad that also finished second in the Class 2A meet. Cantu, a junior, finished second in the 1,500 and fifth in the 800 a year ago. In all, the Trojans return athletes who scored 49.5 points a year ago.

Kennedy coach Steve Ritchie noted that, as always, his squad will face stiff competition in the Tri-River Conference. The Regis and East Linn Christian boys finished one-two at state a year ago, while the East Linn Christian girls took second. Ritchie thinks his team will be in the hunt for a boys title, but that the East Linn girls are virtually unbeatable.

Silverton, meanwhile, continues to get remarkable turnouts. The Foxes have more than 180 athletes competing, a couple dozen more than Kennedy has students. Silverton took second in both team races a year ago at the Mid-Willamette Conference district meet and has a good crop of returnees with Class 5A state meet experience.

Coleton Myers is back to defend his state high jump title. Brock Rogers, who took second in the 110 hurdles and seventh in the 300 hurdles, also is a threat in the 100 meters. Ian Rush is coming off a seventh-place finish at state last year. Austin Haskett, meanwhile, will participate in perhaps as many as seven events, leading coach Erik Cross to yearn for a decathlon in high school meets.

“If they stay healthy I think they will have the opportunity to contend for a league title,” Cross said of the boys squad.

Sophomore Jori Paradis, who took eighth in the 800 last year, moves up to the 1,500. Paradis also ran a leg on the 4×400 squad that took fourth. Desiree Sinn also ran a leg on that relay. Cross almost could field a complete relay team of Sinns, with Katie and Samantha also part of the spring corps, along with Madi Arrington.

“This girls team is very athletic and competitive,” Cross said.

The Foxes turned in a strong showing April 5, dominating a four-way meet that included Lebanon, Central and South Albany. The competition marked a return to the home track for Silverton, which was forced to run a meet at Kennedy while repairs were made to the surface of the track at McGinnis Field.

Mount Angel youth project: Mount Angel Youth Sports (MAYS) is holding a fundraising campaign for its baseball and softball programs, which serve more than 160 young athletes. The group hopes to raise $12,000 in cash, materials and in-kind donations to pay for improvements to its two fields and its indoor practice facility. For information or to make arrangements to assist email mtangelyouthsports@gmail.com.

Follow me on Twitter.com @jameshday. News tip? Email jamesday590@gmail.com. Follow Our Town on Facebook.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.