Olympic League schools could get Narrows nod Wednesday

"A vote of Narrows League principals this Wednesday, Nov. 15, will decide whether or not the Class 4A schools from the current Olympic League will be embraced by the Narrows beginning next fall.Narrows athletic directors voted Tuesday, Nov. 7, to recommend that the Tacoma-based league accept Bremerton, Central Kitsap, Olympic, North Kitsap and Port Angeles as members for all interscholastic sports beginning with the 2001-02 school year.But that recommendation has been given to the Narrows principals before, and they always have said no to the Olympic Leaguers.We've been here before, said Olympic High School's first-year athletic director, Robert Polk. If it's going to happen, I'm going to have to wait to see it happen. The (Olympic League) ADs have worked hard for six or eight years to make this happen, and it hasn't ever gone through.The five Olympic League schools joined the Narrows for football only two years ago, with a nudge from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA). They currently compete alongside South Kitsap, Gig Harbor and Peninsula as the Bridge Division in the two-division, 16-team football setup. The Bay Division encompasses Tacoma's six in-town high schools, plus Olympia and Capital.For other sports, the Olympic League for years has operated as a multi-classification league with Class 4A, 3A and 2A schools competing on more or less equal footing throughout their regular seasons. Teams play for allotments into postseason tournaments in their various classifications.It's worked well for us, said Klahowya girls soccer coach Troy Oelschlager, whose 1999 team was compiled a 5-10-1 record in the stiff Olympic League competition, but then rolled to the state 2A championship with five straight victories against schools their own size. I'd kind of hate to see it (the current alignment) end. It'd be hard for us to get the same kind of competition during the regular season.The demise of the Olympic League would leave the league's two Class 3A teams, Bainbridge and Sequim, and its pair of 2A entrants, Klahowya and Port Townsend, looking for a new home. Klahowya and Port Townsend already are members of the far-flung Nisqually League for football only, and a likely scenario would have them joining the Nisqually ranks for the other sports, as well.Polk alluded to one possibility which would also include Sequim and Class 3A North Mason joining the Nisqually to form a 10-team, two-division alignment with Chimacum, Klahowya, North Mason, Port Townsend and Sequim making up the northern division and Nisqually veterans Eatonville, Foster, Orting, Steilacoom, Vashon banding into a southern division.Bainbridge, the Olympic League's other 3A team, is said to be petitioning the Seattle Metro League for admission. Alternatives include staying in the 3A Pierce County League, which also currently includes Sequim for football, or attempting to play up into the 4A Narrows ranks.Narrows officials have balked at absorbing the Olympic Leaguers in the past, most notably because of concerns about travel - particularly to distant Port Angeles, a two-hour bus ride even from the next-northernmost league member, North Kitsap.Although the local athletic directors have seen previous entreaties to join the Narrows fall on deaf ears, Polk said he awaits Wednesday's vote with cautious optimism.This is the first time I think it might (go through), he said. But the ADs up here have been confident before, and it didn't fly. "

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