THE FUTURE OF the Port Townsend athletic department will be decided in the next 10 days.
After a spirited school board meeting a few weeks ago, Port Townsend School District Superintendent Gene Laes has been left to decide whether Port Townsend will stay in the multi-classification Olympic League or move on to the Class 1A Nisqually.
The decision is expected to be made by Dec. 16.
“To this day there has been no decision made,” Port Townsend High School athletic director Patrick Kane said Tuesday.
“We made a couple of recommendations to the superintendent of what we’d like to do. We’re just waiting for his decision.”
Kane said that he made the case for Port Townsend joining the 1A Nisqually, while principal Carrie Ehrhardt argued for staying in the Olympic League.
An assessment of preliminary enrollment data released by the WIAA to member schools shows that Port Townsend will stay in Class 1A during the 2012-2014 classification cycle.
In the past, Port Townsend has competed as the lone 1A school in the Olympic League, which is largely made up of 2A institutions located in relative close proximity to the Quimper Peninsula.
The 1A Nisqually is made up of 1A schools around the same size as Port Townsend, including archrival Chimacum.
Several varsity coaches have long weighed in on their preference to move down to the Nisqually.
By moving down to that league, they argue, the Redskins would finally find themselves on a level playing field.
Almost all of the 1A Nisqually schools, however, are located across the bridges in the Seattle-Tacoma area.
That makes for several logistical issues with students spending additional time out of class.
Kane said that the school’s travel budget, estimated at $33,000 last year, would possibly double if Port Townsend were to join the Nisqually.
The district cut athletics from Blue Heron Middle School this year. Thus, any added expenditures could be met with more cuts in other areas of athletics within the district.
“It would be a big jump, which would have us as a district consider if certain sports would have to be cut,” Kane said.
“There are some programs that the schools [in the Nisqually] don’t offer because of their size.”
One sport not offered by the 1A Nisqually is girls swimming, which Port Townsend won an Olympic League title in this fall.
Many of the coaches who support staying in the Olympic League are those who lead individual sports programs like track and field, cross country, golf and swimming.
Team sports coaches in boys and girls basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball prefer moving to the Nisqually.
Football is already in the Nisqually.
“All things are being considered in this whole thought of where we should be,” Kane said.
“It’s not an easy decision. People really have to be patient.
“The school has been in the Nisqually League before and it’s been tough, with kids coming home from games at midnight.”
If Port Townsend does happen to make the jump, the Nisqually will have a bit of a different look to it.
Orting is projected to be a 2A school, and other 1As like Eatonville, Bellevue Christian and Cedar Park Christian have expressed an interest in also joining.
If that were to happen, Kane said the league may be divided into two five-team divisions.
Port Townsend, Chimacum, Charles Wright, Vashon Island and Life Christian would be in one division.
Cascade Christian, Seattle Christian, Bellevue Christian, Cedar Park Christian and Eatonville would be in the other.
The Nisqually League is requesting that applications to its league be submitted by Dec. 16.
Everything else, including classification data, should be completely figured out by January.
■ Don’t expect too many changes with any of the other schools on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Nobody should be moving down or up the classification ladder this time around.
■ Looks like Bremerton is going to be coming down to 2A, potentially making the Olympic League an entirely 2A conference.
■ Say goodbye to Interlake gumming up the 2A playoff projections in the West Central District.
Preliminary numbers released Monday by the WIAA point to the Saints moving back to 3A.
________Matt Schubert is the outdoors and sports columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column regularly appears on Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at [email protected]