Sports

It's official: Beamer will be only Federal Way school in the South next year

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

After a year and a half of discussion, it looks like the South Puget Sound League lineup for the 2006-07 school year is finally set. And the fact that Todd Beamer High School will be competing in the SPSL’s South Division for at least two more years isn’t sitting too well with a lot people around the Federal Way school district.

Athletic directors from the SPSL voted last week to keep Beamer in the South and move the other three Federal Way district high schools into the North Division before the 2006-07 fall sports season.

“I think we can put this one behind us,” said Greg Flynn, the district’s athletic liaison. “The discussion was based on geography. Beamer is the southernmost school in the district. It had nothing to do with them being the newest.”

The four Federal Way school district athletic directors didn’t participate in the vote, according to Flynn, because it was their stand that the four schools should all be kept together in the North Division.

The decision to break up the schools in Federal Way came last month when the league’s principals voted 15-5 to create three, eight-team divisions in the fall. Four of the dissenting votes came from the principals at Beamer, Decatur, Federal Way and Thomas Jefferson.

Starting next fall, the North will include Kentlake, Kent-Meridian, Kentridge, Kentwood, Tahoma, Decatur, Federal Way and Jefferson. The South will have Beamer, Bethel, Curtis, Emerald Ridge, Graham-Kapowsin, Puyallup, Rogers and Spanaway Lake and the 3A division will include Auburn, Auburn Riverside, Auburn Mountainview, Enumclaw, Sumner, Bonney Lake, White River and Franklin Pierce.

The decision to keep Beamer in the South was also not a popular one with several parents in the Federal Way school district. A large group from all four schools in the district joined together in an attempt to keep Beamer, Decatur, Federal Way and Jefferson in the same division.

“We all want the best high school experience for our children,” the letter states. “It is a concerning fact that one Federal Way high school may be in a separate league from the other three. That one sole Federal Way high school will lose out on many high school experiences, including inner-city and inner-district rivalries that make high school events fun.”

The parents are also concerned that the school left in the South Division, Beamer, will feel alienated from the other three and receive less community support.

But their concerns went unheard. Principals and athletic directors cited scheduling and transportation as the biggest factors for splitting up the Federal Way schools.

“The SPSL Principals Association, along with the SPSL Athletic Directors Association, have gone through a process for over a year and a half to make a decision regarding the realignment of the SPSL,” said Mike Albrecht, the SPSL Principals Association President. “In closure, the SPSL Principals brought to a conclusion the realignment issues for this two-year period.”

The changes in the SPSL became necessary in the fall when the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association reclassified schools to balance the number of teams in each classification. The new plan places 17 percent of the schools in each of the six enrollment classes.

The Federal Way school district had recommended earlier this month that all four of their high schools remain in the same division.

But that would have created a nine-team North and a seven-team South Division — something the SPSL clearly didn’t want.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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