Wesco finalizes divisional format for next school year

The Western Conference, home of Oak Harbor High School athletics, finalized its divisional format for next school year Wednesday, Jan. 13, in Everett.

The conference athletic directors decided to split the league into three divisions for team sports and two divisions for individual sports.

The team sports will now have a separate 3A division which will include Oak Harbor. The Wildcats are dropping from 4A because of a decline in enrollment.

Team sports consist of football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, wrestling and tennis.

Oak Harbor will be joined by Lynnwood, Meadowdale, Glacier Peak, Everett, Shorecrest and Shorewood in the 3A division.

The 4A schools will be split geographically into northern (Arlington, Stanwood, Lake Stevens, Snohomish, Monroe and Marysville-Pilchuck) and southern (Cascade, Edmonds-Woodway, Jackson, Mariner and Kamiak) divisions.

The individual sports will remain in the current alignment (a mixture of 3A and 4A schools) with Oak Harbor in the north.

Next year the Western Conference will have eight 3A schools, up from a previous high of five. The league athletic directors, according to OHHS athletic director Nicki Luper, said it more equitable to figure out who will advance to the post season in team sports if the teams determine it with head-to-head competition.

Some of the teams would not meet during the regular season if they were in separate divisions.

"This is good for our athletes," said Luper. The drawback of the new division is increased travel time for Oak Harbor because most of the 3A schools are the longest bus trips.

Individual sports will remain in geographical division to cut down on travel times.

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