The evolution of prep athletics continues throughout the South Sound as schools switch allegiances and leagues come and go.
A significant development during this turbulent time came Feb. 2 when 16 schools from the West Central District decided to create two new leagues in the 3A classification. With that, both the familiar South Puget Sound League 3A and Narrows League will disappear at the close of the current school year.
The SPSL 3A presently is home to local schools Enumclaw, Sumner and Bonney Lake. Sumner has seen enrollment growth, moved up a classification and will join the SPSL 4A. Enumclaw is still 3A size, but will opt-up and join the new North Puget Sound League 4A. A fourth local school, White River, will stay where it is, but have a handful of new neighbors.
Now, with the dust almost settled, here’s how things will look when teams turn out for the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.
North Puget Sound League 4A, Olympic Division (new) – Enumclaw, Auburn, Auburn Riverside, Auburn Mountainview, Decatur, Thomas Jefferson, Todd Beamer and Federal Way.
North Puget Sound League 4A, Cascade Division (new) – Kent-Meridian, Kentlake, Kentridge, Kentwood, Kennedy, Mount Rainier, Hazen and Tahoma.
South Puget Sound League 4A – Sumner, Curtis, Graham-Kapowsin, Olympia, South Kitsap, Bellarmine Prep and the three Puyallup district schools – Puyallup High, Rogers and Emerald Ridge.
Pierce County League 3A (new) – The Bonney Lake Panthers will compete with Lakes, Bethel, Spanaway Lake and four Tacoma schools – Lincoln, Wilson, Stadium and Mount Tahoma.
3A league (new, not yet named) – Yelm, Capital, Timberline, North Thurston, Gig Harbor, Peninsula, Central Kitsap and Shelton.
South Puget Sound League 2A – Present members White River, Clover Park, Franklin Pierce, Washington, Fife, Orting, River Ridge and Steilacoom were first joined by newcomers Eatonville and Foss. Following that mild expansion, six additional teams were admitted: Highline, Evergreen, Tyee, Renton, Lindbergh and Foster. The growth will require a split into two divisions; that action is expected to come during a Thursday meeting.