Saturday, June 10, 2017
The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) recently went through its ninth public meeting of the committee assigned to examine rearranging the state’s athletic classifications and districts, and it shows that Hood River Valley High School’s current league for the majority of its sports, the Columbia River Conference, will no longer exist.
The News reported on the OSAA reclassification and redistricting in February, a process the governing body of Oregon sports and activities goes through every four years to reflect changes in enrollment. At that point, the OSAA was considering both five- and six-classification systems (Oregon currently has six, with the largest schools in 6A and the smallest schools in 1A). However, according to a memo released late last month by the OSAA to school administrators, the committee received “broad support for the six-classification system,” and is moving forward with that structure.
Columbia River Conference teams HRV, Pendleton and The Dalles will combine with Central Oregon schools Crook County, Redmond, and Ridgeview to form a new version of the Intermountain Conference
For OSAA-sanctioned sports (not lacrosse or water polo), HRV currently competes in the CRC with fellow 5A schools Pendleton, Hermiston, and The Dalles. Sometimes those schools will merge with other conferences to form special districts depending on the sport, but generally, those four schools are always competing together. Under the new arrangement, the OSAA will form a new version of the current Intermountain Conference, which will include HRV, Pendleton, and The Dalles along with Central Oregon schools Crook County, Redmond, and Ridgeview.
The OSAA was originally going to bump Hermiston up to 6A and group the Bulldogs in a conference with several schools from the Portland metro area, but Hermiston has pursued joining the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) so they can compete against schools in the Tri-Cities area, thereby saving money on travel costs as well as reducing lost instruction time. On Monday, the WIAA announced they had accepted Hermiston into the WIAA, becoming the first out-of-state school to join the association as a full member. The Bulldogs will compete in the WIAA’s Mid-Columbia Conference starting in the 2018-19 school year.
The 5A class is already the smallest in the state in terms of number of schools (33) and the redistricting would bump that class down to 28. That puts HRV in a good spot to have even greater success in the postseason, as Bend and Summit — the latter of whom has dominated the 5A class — will move to 6A, making HRV one of the largest schools in 5A. The OSAA noted in its memo that athletic directors from 5A schools “acknowledge that 28 total schools is small but they believe it is viable.”
The OSAA still has three more meetings on the matter before making its final recommendations to OSAA’s executive board in October. The changes will go into effect at the start of the 2018-19 school year and will last until the end of the 2021-22 school year. More information on other classification changes can be found on the OSAA website at osaa.org.
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