River Ridge High School will still be a member of the 2A South Puget Sound League next year.
But the alignment of the league will not look the same.
Eight new schools will join the now 16-school league for the newly implemented four-year WIAA classification cycle, which begins with the 2016-17 school year.
The league will be split into two divisions, which were decided Thursday by school officials. The alignment is pending approval from current 2A SPSL principals.
One division: Evergreen (Seattle), Fife, Foss, Foster, Franklin Pierce, Lindbergh, Washington and White River.
The other: Clover Park, Eatonville, Highline, Orting, Renton, River Ridge, Steilacoom and Tyee.
“This has been an ongoing discussion, and it took a few more hours (Thursday) to try to find everyone on the same common ground,” said Chris Gibson, the 2A SPSL president and athletic director at White River.
River Ridge will continue to compete with three of the schools in the current league — Clover Park, Orting and Steilacoom.
“We were pleased that we were still able to be in there with Steilacoom and Clover Park,” North Thurston Public Schools athletic director Rich Yelenich said. “Those are probably our two closest league schools.
“Everybody did what they had to do to make this thing work.”
Of the other four schools in River Ridge’s division, three — Highline, Renton and Tyee — come from the 2A Seamount League, which will dissolve at the end of this school year. Eatonville, a current member of the 1A Evergreen Conference, was reclassified to 2A.
Gibson said this alignment will be re-evaluated in two years, and any necessary changes will be made.
North Thurston Public Schools’ eventual goal is to move River Ridge into the 3A classification so it could join a league with the other two schools in the district — North Thurston and Timberline. Those two schools will join the 3A South Sound Conference in the fall.
The district school board voted unanimously in November to adopt boundary changes that are intended to balance enrollment among the three high schools.
“The forecast is that River Ridge will be up in the solid 3A numbers,” Yelenich said. “Whether that’s in two years or four years, that remains to be seen. When that time comes, obviously we’ll need to look at where they’re going to go.”
The new 2A SPSL
Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, the 2A South Puget Sound League will expand to 16 teams. All eight teams currently in the 2A SPSL will stay in the league, which will absorb six teams from the 2A Seamount League, and also add Foss and Eatonville.