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Big postseason changes ahead for GSL, MCC

Greater Spokane League 3A schools better make sure their fleet of school buses is tuned up with fresh oil changes and plenty of tread on their tires.

When it comes to postseason this year, teams could be making several trips to southwest Washington in hopes of making it to various state tournaments.

Although the GSL won’t officially know how many state berths it will receive in 3A and 4A this year until a week from Sunday, it will likely be one in 3A and two in 4A. Those numbers should bump to two and three, respectively, next year.

And those berths are shared with the Mid-Columbia Conference, which has just three 3A schools this year and five 4A.

Here’s why GSL and MCC 3A teams could do some traveling to District 4, located in the Vancouver area. They’ve asked the WIAA to glue with another district for the opportunity of gaining another chance at a state berth.

Requests by districts to be glued with another district for the purpose of qualifying for state are always granted. The GSL and MCC initially asked to be glued with District 2 – the district representing the greater Seattle area because that district is closest. But the GSL and MCC were told that their glue request would most likely be tied to District 4.

It would be a two-year agreement. District 4 receives two state berths this year and one next year. Combined the six schools in District 4 along with the seven combined in the GSL and MCC would get three state berths both years, GSL secretary Herb Rotchford said.

The agreement is for every sport except football. In football, District 4 is tied with District 3 (Tacoma area). The GSL and MCC have asked that a second team be allowed to play a team from Districts 3 and 4 for a chance at a state berth in football. That will likely be granted, Rotchford said.

Another major change for the GSL this year is the elimination of district tournaments in volleyball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball. The GSL’s 4A and 3A teams will combine with the MCC’s teams for subregionals.

The specifics of those subregionals and how they will be rotated over a two-year period will be hammered out at a meeting Monday in Ritzville, Rotchford said. For example, two or three of the four GSL 3A teams may be in a subregional while as many as four of the six 4A teams will be in a subregional, he said.

There will still be district tournaments in tennis, track, golf and wrestling, Rotchford said.

The Spokane Arena has been reserved for dates in February 2018 for 4A and 3A subregional boys and girls basketball tournaments, Rotchford said. The MCC is looking for neutral sites for the first combined subregional this winter.

To be able to do a subregional, districts must be eliminated.

“The feeling is the regular season ought to mean something,” Rotchford said. “You play each other twice in the regular season. Is it necessary to play a third time?”

Rotchford said it’s time to go to a subregional format.

“We’ve had such a close relationship with the MCC that it just makes sense,” Rotchford said.

An argument that comes up often when it comes to state berths in most sports is that the GSL and MCC have some of the best quality in the state and should, therefore, receive more state berths. While the argument about quality has credibility, it comes down to quantity and there are more 4A and 3A teams west of Snoqualmie Pass. And quantity means more state berths.

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