RENTON — An application by an Oregon high school to join the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has been approved, the WIAA announced Monday.
Hermiston High School, located about 45 miles south of Richland, will join the WIAA in the 2018-19 school year and compete in the Mid-Columbia Conference. The MCC currently includes Chiawana, Hanford, Kamiakin, Kennwick, Pasco, Richland, Southridge and Walla Walla. Hermiston is the first out-of-state school to join the WIAA as a full member.
Hermiston Schools Superintendent Dr. Fred Maiocco said his community is “tied culturally and geographically” to the Tri-Cities and “this action by the WIAA permits us to strengthen and deepen the cross-border community partnerships which naturally exist between Hermiston, the Tri-Cities, and Walla Walla.”
Had Hermiston not joined the WIAA, it would have faced significant travel issues based on proposed district and classification changes in the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA). The Bulldogs’ average travel for conference play was estimated at 404 miles round trip, per contest, as opposed to the average of 80 miles estimated in MCC play. The change will reduce the amount of class time missed by student athletes, as well as limit the financial burden to Hermiston High School.
“This move to the WIAA is the right thing for our students,” said Hermiston High School Athletic Director Larry Usher. “Our situation will be much improved in regards to travel distance, lost instructional time, and budgets.”
Hermiston will be a full member of the WIAA for all sports and activities programs and will qualify for postseason play as a member of WIAA District 8.