Blaine will go to 1A, Squalicum to 2A and Oak Harbor, Mount Vernon join NW Conference

  WHATCOM ­— The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has announced changes to school classifications effective for four years starting next fall for the 2020-21 school year.

  The changes allow schools to adjust enrollment numbers in relation to their percentage of students above the state average of 47 percent who receive free or reduced-price  school lunches.

  The Northwest Conference will mostly remain the same through the changes, although there is some shuffling of teams. 

  Blaine High School, which appealed its classification as a 2A school, will compete at the 1A level next year. Also dropping down a classification is Squalicum, which will be in the 2A ranks after appealing its 3A designation that it has been playing in.

  Two high schools to the south will be joining the conference. Oak Harbor comes from the Wesco 3A. Mount Vernon is dropping a classification from 4A to 3A with the WIAA changes. 

  The North Sound Conference, which the Northwest Conference has competed against in postseason district play, will be merging with the Emerald City League to form the Emerald Sound Conference. That conference will go to District 2, leaving the now five 1A Northwest Conference teams in District 1 possibly competing against each other in the opening rounds of sports playoffs. 

  The shift means a departure of King’s, Granite Falls, South Whidbey, Cascade Christian and Sultan from the accustomed district scene. Coupeville goes down to 2B.

  This would have an impact on how many of the 1A teams from the conference can go to state, though nothing is official yet regarding how the postseason will actually play out next year.