Granite Falls High School won its appeal Sunday to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association to drop from Class 2A to 1A for the remaining two years of the current four-year classification cycle.
Granite Falls will finish the school year as a 2A school before moving to 1A in the fall.
Granite Falls appealed to move down because of a significant decline in enrollment. The school’s enrollment has dropped by about 94 students since the most recent statewide reclassification two years ago, Granite Falls athletic director Joey Johnson said.
It was the second time in recent years that Granite Falls appealed to move down to 1A. The school lost an appeal to the WIAA in January 2016 during statewide reclassification for the current four-year cycle, which runs through the 2019-20 school year.
At the time of the reclassification, Granite Falls was the smallest non-opt-up 2A school in the state with 461.25 students, based on average enrollment figures for grades 9-11. Granite Falls had just 0.12 more students than Connell, the state’s largest 1A school. Granite Falls based its original appeal on the fact its enrollment numbers were expected to decline.
As of this month, Granite Falls’ enrollment has dipped to 367 students, Johnson said. That ranks 14th among the state’s 1A schools, according to the January 2016 enrollment numbers.
“We’re excited about it,” Johnson said of the move. “We’re not playing teams anymore that are better than twice our size, and in some cases almost three times our size.”
Granite Falls is one of five current Cascade Conference schools planning to form a new league next fall called the North Sound Conference. The seven-team Cascade Conference voted in December to dissolve its multi-classification league at the end of the school year.
Class 1A schools Cedar Park Christian-Bothell, King’s, South Whidbey and Sultan are joining Granite Falls in moving from the Cascade Conference to the North Sound Conference.
Coupeville also is set to join the North Sound Conference after its appeal to move down from 1A to 2B was denied Sunday by the WIAA, according to Northwest District athletic director Jim Piccolo.
Coupeville left the Cascade Conference after the 2013-14 school year to join District 3’s Olympic League 1A. But because of travel costs and missed class time, Coupeville announced in December it would leave the Olympic League at the end of the school year, the Whidbey News-Times reported.
Coupeville recently was accepted by the Northwest District and was awaiting the WIAA’s classification decision to determine whether it would play in the all-1A North Sound Conference or the Northwest 2B/1B League.
Darrington also lost an appeal Sunday to the WIAA, which denied the school’s petition to drop from 2B to 1B.