SPORTS: Port Townsend’s move to Nisqually League on hold

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By Lee Horton

Peninsula Daily News

Port Townsend’s move to the Nisqually League will not be happening in the next few weeks, but the school is still hoping to join the 1A league before the end of the school year.

Last month, Port Townsend approached Nisqually League athletic directors about becoming a full-fledged member, beginning in the winter sports season.

“I can say that officially will not happen,” Jerry Holsten, executive board member for West Central District III told the Peninsula Daily News on Friday.

“It’s too late for winter [sports].”

Practices for winters sports have already started, and the games begin in a little more than a week.

Currently, Port Townsend, a 1A school, plays football in the Nisqually League and all other sports in the 2A Olympic League.

Adding a team to a league right now would create a ripple effect of inconvenience because schedules and travel plans have already been made.

Not only would Nisqually League teams be affected by the addition, but so would teams in Olympic League.

Nonleague opponents of both leagues could also be impacted.

“Inconvenient is an understatement,” Holsten said of the results of a team switching leagues this close the start of a sports season.

Port Townsend’s motives for joining the Nisqually League is to gain easier access to the postseason.

Earlier this year, the Redskins girls basketball team tied with Klahowya for fifth place in the Olympic League, which should have earned them a chance to play a pigtail game for a spot in the Nisqually League playoffs.

The Nisqually League, however, ruled that since Port Townsend lost both games it played to Klahowya, it was not the true fifth-place Olympic League team.

Holsten said that although Port Townsend won’t be joining the Nisqually League for winter sports, a modification could possibly be made to the playoff agreement.

Port Townsend can propose a new playoff solution, and Nisqually League schools will have the opportunity to accept or reject it.

Port Townsend athletic director Patrick Kane plans to come up with a new postseason plan.

“We’ll see if [the Nisqually League schools] are open to that [new] idea,” Kane said.

If the proposal is rejected, it can be appealed to the West Central District.

Holsten is the appeals chair for the district. He said a final decision on a new playoff agreement would be made well before the end of the season.

Holsten added that Port Townsend actually proposed the current playoff format.

“It was their proposal, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be looked at,” Holsten said.

Though denied entry for the winter season, Port Townsend still hopes to join the Nisqually League for the spring sports season.

“Spring is still a possibility,” Kane said.

But although the Olympic League has expressed a willingness to allow Port Townsend to leave, it isn’t a given that the Redskins will be making a move.

“I have never heard of a school switching [leagues] in the middle of a school year,” Holsten said.

“But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.”

Even moving to the Nisqually League before the next school year isn’t a guarantee.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association is in the first year of a two-year classification cycle.

Typically teams apply to join new leagues before a new cycle begins.

Port Townsend thought about moving to the Nisqually League before the current school year, but elected to remain in the Olympic League in order to reduce travel costs.

Kane told the PDN earlier this week that the controversy surrounding the girls basketball team is one of the main reasons Port Townsend has elected to pursue a different avenue.

According to Holden, a move by Port Townsend will happen only if it is “fair and equitable to all members of the West Central District, which includes Port Townsend.”

Kane said he will continue discussions with the Nisqually League athletic directors at a meeting next month.

He is hopeful a plan can be made for a smooth transition.

“We don’t want to upset anyone’s apple cart,” Kane said.

“We want something that is favorable to the Nisqually League and Port Townsend.”

Last modified: November 17. 2012 5:17PM
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