Blaine athletes and fans hungry for more postseason play may have found something to whet their appetites.
The Borderites are dropping down to 1A classification for the next two years.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association executive board approved the state high school reclassification numbers for academic years 2012-14 on January 23, bumping Blaine and Mount Baker to 1A classification.
“I would say ‘excited’ doesn’t even put it in words,” Blaine athletic coordinator Steve Miller said. “It’s good for the kids and for the community to play our old Whatcom County rivals again. It’s going to make it fun.”
Miller said the Northwest Conference (NWC) has some incredible competition, but sometimes the larger schools can prove overwhelming.
“Sometimes we just can’t match up when our entire school equals about the size of the other team’s freshman class,” Miller said. “It’s kind of a David and Goliath situation playing against these big schools all the time.”
Rather than being the second-smallest 2A school, Blaine will now be the fifth-largest school in 1A.
The formation of the Northwest Conference six years ago placed Blaine into 2A classification, whereas most of its old Whatcom County league rivals, such as Meridian, Nooksack Valley and Lynden Christian, were all placed in 1A.
While most sports have enough games per season to accommodate interclass play, Blaine’s football team hasn’t had the opportunity to play its old rivals due to the shorter football season.
“We are happy because now we’re able to play some county schools that we haven’t been able to play in the last six years,” Blaine football coach Jay Dodd said. “Schools that we used to play twice a year since we started football a long time ago. For the past six years, those rivalries have been broken.”
Elsewhere in the NWC, Sedro-Woolley is moving down to 2A after a successful appeal to exclude Job Corps students from its enrollment figures.
Mount Vernon will be moving up to 4A, where it will compete in the 3A/4A Wesco league, leaving Ferndale as the lone 3A team in the NWC.
Blaine athletic director Wayne Vezzetti said the news has come with great anticipation throughout Blaine.
“A lot of the people I talk to in the community are excited for next year,” Vezzetti said. “It’ll be fun. We are in a tough league – one of the toughest leagues in the state. It’s competitive day in and day out, so having that opportunity, that slightly better chance to get to the postseason, makes everybody more excited.”
Vezzetti and Miller said despite the class change, the bottom line is that 1A competition is still going to be tough.
“Whatcom County is Whatcom County. It’s tough, and nobody is going to roll over for us,” Miller said. “We are going to have to earn everything at the 1A, and we know that.”