Information used in this story was adapted from a post by Ted House on NWCAthletics.com.
WIAA District 1/2 is now in its second season of using a league RPI system to rank the district’s Class 2A teams and seed them for the district round of the postseason.
A mathematical weighted system that assigns point values based on win quality, RPI is used in soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball and baseball — football’s version differs slightly.
With 14 2A teams from the Northwest Conference, Cascade Conference, Wesco 3A and KingCo 2A/3A making up the district, each team plays a league schedule against teams from multiple classifications, enticing athletic directors to create a point system to assign value for wins in conference play and more fairly seed the teams in each sport for postseason play.
In each sport, wins by 2A teams in conference play are awarded a set amount of points. If a 2A team defeats a 3A school, that victory will hold a higher value than a victory over a 2A or 1A club. More points are awarded for wins over teams who finish the regular season with a winning record in league play.
As the season progresses, the point value awarded to any given win can change based on how teams finish the season.
For example, if Lynden football (currently 2-0 in Northwest Conference play) beats Lakewood (2-2) in Friday’s league tilt at Lynden High School at 7 p.m., the Lions would receive points for a victory over a 2A team with a losing record in conference games. However, if Lakewood went on to finish with a winning mark in conference play, the Lions’ point total would change to reflect beating a team with an above-.500 league record.
In all sports, only the final RPI rankings, released at the conclusion of the regular season, will be considered official. Unofficial ranking updates will be released weekly once about half of the league schedule is complete.
Teams are reseeded for each sport’s state tournament, once qualified, based on a different set of criteria.
In football only, all 14 teams use the RPI system, but the Northwest Conference, made up of eight 2A teams, uses 2A league standings to determine playoff seeding for the District 1/2 North teams.
The district’s South division, which includes Cascade, Wesco and KingCo teams, use RPI to seed teams into the district’s postseason.
All other components of football’s RPI follow the system used in other sports, although wins in football are weighted based on winning at home or on the road and the cumulative record of a team’s opponents is given consideration as well.
Three teams from the North and three teams from the South will qualify for the district round of the playoffs, also known as the week 10 playoffs.
The district round has the top team from the North host the No. 3 team from the South; the North No. 2 hosts the South No. 2; and the South No. 1 hosts the North No. 3. Winners of the matchups advance to the state tournament’s round of 16.
The No. 4 team from the North division can qualify as one of the top three teams from the South if that team’s RPI is high enough at the end of the season.
The district will send four 2A teams to the state tournament in girls soccer, volleyball and cross country (four boys and four girls teams). Three football and three girls swimming teams will reach state.
In Class 1A, district RPI is not applicable. Three 1A teams from the district will qualify for state in football while four boys and four girls cross country teams will earn berths. Five girls soccer teams and four volleyball teams will also advance to state.
In girls swimming and cross country, individual bids to state are awarded based on reaching a qualifying mark or by qualifying at districts.
Last winter, the seeding system for the state tournament for boys and girls basketball switched to an RPI ranking. While similar to the district RPI, the two systems operate independently.