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Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Athletics move from 4A to 3A: New classification

Lucas Talbot (he/him)
Track and field coach Kirsten Vesely instructs athletes during jumping drills at practice on April 18.

Inglemoor will move down one classification from 4A to 3A in the 2024-25 school year, as a result of Washington Interscholastic Activities Association classification realignment. The WIAA classifies high schools from 1B to 4A based on school enrollment. These classifications are reviewed every four years and realignment follows. The 4A classification is the highest level, including schools with combined freshmen, sophomore and junior enrollments of 1,200 or more. Inglemoor did not meet the 4A threshold with only 1,087 students. Despite lower enrollment for the past eight years, the previous superintendent, Michelle Reid, opted to keep Inglemoor in the 4A classification to maintain competition between NSD schools.

Athletic director Kealey Stanich (she/her) initiated the conversation of Inglemoor moving down to 3A with the current Northshore School District superintendent Michael Tolley, insisting that Inglemoor should be reclassified.

“You look at the numbers, and we come in way lower than all the other numbers of 4A schools in the KingCo League. When classification was happening again, I knew we were not a 4A school. We’re a 3A school, and we needed to play 3A,” Stanich said.

Girls basketball head coach Kristina Schumacher (she/her) said Stanich discussed the decision to move down to 3A with her and the rest of the coaching staff. Schumacher supported the switch because she also observed imbalances between Inglemoor and schools with higher enrollment.

“We’ve noticed a huge discrepancy in our student numbers, our size, our competitiveness out of the other schools, and I think it was the right move to make because we need it to be more competitive for our athletes to have success,” Schumacher said. “I think we were undersized in 22 out of 22 of our games, but now we’re going to be playing people our size and sometimes we might have an advantage inside.”

Beyond having a more even playing field, Stanich advocated for the change to 3A for athlete safety. In 2022, Inglemoor football switched to an independent schedule, marking the first season since 1998 that they did not compete at the 4A level. Football is the only sport in which schools can classify to a lower level of competition for safety reasons. While independent, games can be scheduled against whichever teams the Athletic Director chooses. However, Stanich said that football will not play against district rivals such as Bothell.

“I’m not going to schedule the other [NSD] schools, and I have been completely open with the other schools with that,” Stanich said. “I have to think of the safety of the kids.”

Multiple teams in the KingCo conference are being realigned as well, further affecting the game schedule. For example, Hazen, Lake Washington and Juanita will move from 3A to 4A. The reclassification has caused some Inglemoor coaches to take a different approach to coaching. Schumacher and her team scouted other 3A teams that they could be competing against, to give an idea of what the competition would be like.

“On the coaching side, we have to learn a lot of new people and coaches and teams and programs. For most 4A Kingco Teams, I know their program, I know they run a certain system, I know their players, and I think that we’re gonna have to really do more work in the off season,” Schumacher said.

The move to 3A will have varying impacts on each sport. Co-head track coach Kirsten Vesely (she/her) said that because track is made up of individual events, the level of competition should not be impacted as much as team sports. She expects that track and field will continue to have equal competition.

“We’re going to be going against a lot of the private schools, so a benefit might be that they don’t have as many students as the 4A schools, so they’re drawing from a smaller pool,” Vesely said. “That being said, some of those private schools can recruit kids, so they do have really good athletes.”

When making it to state competition for any sport, KingCo typically competes against teams from the Wesco League — which mostly serves Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties. By moving to 3A, Inglemoor will instead compete against teams from the Seattle’s Metro League after KingCo championships. While KingCo 3A is made up of seven public schools, Metro 3A consists of 17 schools, six of which are private.

“​​You hit a big, heavy, private school area with O’Dea, Holy Names, [Bishop] Blanchet,” Stanich said. “That’s going to be tough, but we have to cross over with them because they’re the other league that has the same classification as us. But I think we’re still gonna rock.”

At the same time, KingCo is considering implementing tiered scheduling within the conference. This new multi-classification schedule would mean KingCo schools would be ranked in four different tiers regardless of their enrollment, consisting of six to seven teams in each tier.

“The top tier is your best teams that are probably kicking butts and now they’re going to play each other. That’s a competitive balance. Not all of them are liking it because they don’t get the easy wins,” Stanich said.

Within tiered scheduling, the KingCo scheduling committee would rank teams by calculating statistics from the previous three years, regardless of enrollment. Stanich said a tiered schedule could create more competitive games by playing other teams of similar ability levels.

“There’s mixtures of 4A, 2A, 3A and some of them may be really 4A or 3A heavy, but they’re not going to play teams that they know they’re going to get crushed 67-0,” Stanich said.

Stanich believes that with or without tiered scheduling, Inglemoor sports will have more opportunities in the future to compete in playoffs and state competitions as a result of the level playing field. She hopes that the switch may encourage more students to play school-affiliated sports.

“I have a really good feeling that we’re gonna see more banners up on the wall, which is what I want and why I fought so hard. We’ve been in the wrong classification for eight years, and we’ve been struggling. That’s a long time for an athletic department to take a hit. So, let’s go on the right track,” Stanich said.

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About the Contributors
Charlie Haug (he/him)
Junior Charlie Haug is beginning his first year on the Nordic staff as a reporter. He is looking forward to putting together articles with a goal of keeping his fellow Inglemoor students in the loop. Outside of Nordic, he is usually watching basketball or staying active. He has also spent the last three years rowing for Inglemoor’s crew team.
Juliana Pequignot (she/her)
Junior Juliana Pequignot is beginning her first year as a reporter for Nordic News in the 2023-2024 school year. During Juliana’s first year, she hopes to develop her writing skills while learning more about journalism. Outside of Nordic, Juliana plays basketball and is involved in various clubs. She also enjoys traveling as well as spending time with family and friends.
Lucas Talbot (he/him)
Junior Lucas Talbot is starting his first year on Nordic as a reporter for the 2023-2024 school year. He is looking forward to learning more about journalism and improving his writing skills as he puts together engaging articles for the Inglemoor community. Outside of Nordic he is a captain for the Inglemoor cross country team, plays various other sports and enjoys spending time with friends and family. 

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