RENTON, Wash. - The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Executive Board took action to approve Hermiston High School’s (Hermiston, Ore.) application to join the Association, beginning with the 2018-19 school year. Hermiston will become the first out-of-state school to join the Association as a full member and has been accepted by the Mid-Columbia Conference.
The WIAA Executive Board formulated set criteria to be used as an evaluation tool for out of applications, working jointly with bordering state associations in Oregon and Idaho. The process, which began with the request by Hermiston in January, included gathering input from affected leagues and districts in Oregon and Washington as well as written support from OSAA.
“This was a unique situation for both Hermiston and the WIAA,” said WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese. “The Executive Board worked closely with the OSAA and IHSAA to put measures in place to evaluate the situation at hand, and set a standard going forward.”
Hermiston would have faced a significant travel hardship based on the proposed changes to Districts and Classifications by the OSAA. Average travel for conference play was estimated at 404 miles round trip, per contest, as opposed to the average of 80 miles estimated in Mid-Columbia Conference play. The change will both reduced the amount of class time missed by student athletes, as well as limit the financial burden to Hermiston High School.
With the WIAA currently on a four-year classification schedule, Hermiston’s commitment will span through the end of the current cycle in spring of 2020.
“This move to the WIAA is the right thing for our students,” said Hermiston High School Athletic Director Larry Usher. “Our situation will be much improved in regards to travel distance, lost instructional time, and budgets.”
“Hermiston is also tied culturally and geographically to the Tri-Cities of Washington,” said Hermiston Schools Superintendent Dr. Fred Maiocco. “Our communities have a shared heritage dating back to the Lewis and Clark expeditions. This action by the WIAA permits us to strengthen and deepen the cross-border community partnerships which naturally exist between Hermiston, the Tri-Cities, and Walla Walla.”
Hermiston will be a full member of the WIAA for all sports and activities programs and will qualify for postseason play as a member of WIAA District 8. Action was passed Monday which approved the request of Mid-Columbia Conference Schools Chiawana, Hanford, Kamiakin, Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, Southridge and Walla Walla to District 8.