CHIMACUM — With Chimacum School District’s announcement of a new home for its junior and senior high school athletic programs, the final piece of the North Olympic Peninsula puzzle has been placed in the great 2020-2024 enrollment re-classification undertaking, an every-four-years count of high school enrollment statewide.
Chimacum, currently a Class 1A school, had an average enrollment of 174 students in grades 9-11 in counts conducted on a monthly basis from May through November 2019. Those lower enrollment number dropped the Cowboys to Class 2B and left Chimacum scrambling to find a new home outside of the Class 1A/2A Olympic League and Class 1A Nisqually for football.
Chimacum applied to join the 2B Pacific League, a coastal-based conference with teams ranging from Ilwaco to Westport, Raymond and South Bend.
Forks, another 1A school heading to 2B with a count of 209 students, applied for entrance to the league and was accepted and will begin competing in the Pacific League this fall.
The Spartans’ Pacific League acceptance caused Chimacum’s application to be turned down — with league members citing increased travel and distance between schools.
“Schools were hesitant to travel to both Chimacum and Forks from the Pacific League in the same season,” a press release from Chimacum Junior/Senior High School Principal David Carthum said.
The district re-evaluated its options and applied and was accepted to join the Northwest 1B/2B League beginning this fall.
“With the acceptance into the Northwest 1B/2B league, Chimacum Athletics will be more competitive, as the schools are similar in size,” the release said. “Playing like-size schools within the Northwest league will bring better competition overall to the athletic program at Chimacum Junior/Senior High.”
Class 2B members for 2020-21 and their average enrollment are: Coupeville (209), Friday Harbor (197), La Conner (165) with 1B members Darrington (102), Concrete (101), Orcas Island (94) and Mount Vernon Christian (61).
Orcas Island and Mount Vernon Christian do not field football teams, so the Cowboys will have some gaps in their fall schedule.
The Chimacum-Port Townsend rivalry will continue in at least the football form in 2020 as the teams are scheduled to play a nonleague contest at Memorial Field on Sept. 10.
“Chimacum Athletics looks forward to our partnership with the Northwest 1B/2B league next year, and the opportunity to provide a solid foundation for our student athletes.”
Class 1A schools Port Townsend and Klahowya will leave the Class 1A/2A Olympic League and join the Nisqually League for all sports but swimming.
That leaves Port Angeles and Sequim competing in a seven-team Class 2A Olympic League with no 1A division.
Quilcene will remain in the 1B SeaTac League with Neah Bay, Crescent, Clallam Bay and Chief Kitsap remaining in the North Olympic League.
I was planning for morning, noon and night coverage state basketball coverage from the Yakima SunDome, expecting for much of the regular season that the Port Angeles girls, Sequim girls and Port Angeles boys (and possibly the Forks boys) would be in action at their respective state tournaments.
But high school sports do not follow a straight line, particularly at the district tournament level. And the No. 6 Port Angeles girls are the lone squad remaining.
White River’s upset by a surging North Kitsap squad forced an eventual consolation semifinal matchup between the No. 4 Hornets and the No. 12 Wolves that Sequim dropped by just four points.
My plan to write about Wolves’ seniors Jessica Dietzman and Hope Glasser in advance of the regional round fell by the wayside.
Dietzman and Glasser were part of the Wolves’ first-ever state tournament run in girls soccer in 2019. They also came out of nowhere last season to advance to the state regional round in girls basketball. Sequim rallied from a second-half deficit with 28-0 run to close out the contest, a 54-44 win over Foster to advance to the state tournament.
And they gave Port Angeles all it could handle at state, as well.
Dietzman and another Wolves’ teammate Kalli Wiker, won the girls tennis doubles state championship last spring after a second-place finish in 2018, and should contend again this spring.
Their impact in raising the soccer and basketball programs has been massive for Sequim.
The Roughrider boys lost two district games by a total of six points, including an agonizing 57-55 loss to Renton that saw Port Angeles lose pivotal post player Damen Ringgold to a concussion mere minutes into the game.
Ringgold’s story of being cut from the Port Angeles program as a freshman to leading the team in scoring and rebounding in his lone varsity season was a no-brainer and I covered that base in early February.
I also had plans to write a feature about the deft mid-range shooting touch of Riders’ hard-nosed forward Anton Kathol, a skill lost to the ages in the era of the 3-point shot.
The takeaway? Just write the stories, don’t wait for a someday that may never come.
I grew up watching heavyweight boxing pay-per-views centered on a different Tyson — but Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder II more than lived up to the hype of the first bout.
Fury’s fight plan of leaning his 6-foot-9, 273-pound frame on the slightly smaller Wilder was smart — don’t let Wilder wind up to deliver one of his fabled power punches.
Fury, the showman the dying sport of boxing absolutely requires, popped Wilder in the ear, got him with a stinging right hand on the mouth and had Wilder unsteady on his legs for most of the fight.
Wilder blamed his pre-fight costume — an ode to black history month that weighed 4o pounds — for tiring him out in the ring.
That’s possible, but losing your equilibrium after getting blasted in the back/side of your head might be more to blame.
Fury’s rendition of American Pie in the post-fight interview was classic — after fighting through drug and alcohol addiction and depression that nearly caused him to take his own life, the self-proclaimed Gypsy King reached the pinnacle of his sport and decided to celebrate (and pander to American fight fans) with a little sing-along.
The fight’s contract had a clause for a third fight between the two and Wilder exercised it Monday, meaning Fury-Wilder III will be held sometime before the end of July this year.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected].