And then there were seven.
Marshfield High School (MHS) in Coos Bay will be joining the Far West League (FWL) beginning with the 2012 fall sports season.
The Pirates will remain a member of the FWL at least until the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) Classification and Districting Committee shakes up the classification assignments for the state beginning in fall of 2014.
The move comes after Marshfield petitioned to be moved to the 4A classification from the larger 5A classification where it was one of the smaller schools competing.
“I think it was certainly good for our kids, our coaches and our community to be placed in a league that is appropriate for our size,” Boyd Bjorkquist, Marshfield’s co-athletic director said. “With what’s happened with our enrollment, it gives our kids a chance to be competitive. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
According to OSAA executive staff member Molly Hays, the move came after Marshfield fell 100 students below the upper cutoff for 4A-size schools.
“We get our numbers from the Oregon Department of Education’s ADM (average daily membership),” she said. “And those numbers are a reflection of the previous year’s enrollment numbers.”
Schools that project a continued decline in student attendance can request to have their classification changed through the districting committee.
Toledo High School – moving from 3A to 2A – was the only other school in the state to have a request to move to a new classification granted for the 2012-2013 school year.
Marshfield, with an ADM of 766, will be the third largest school in the 4A classification and the largest in the FWL followed by the Bruins at 532.
According to BHHS athletic director Buell Gonzales, the move by Marshfield shouldn’t affect the Bruins’ success.
“I don’t think it will be a huge impact,” he said. “When you have good athletes you’ll be successful. When you don’t have good athletes, you won’t be successful.”
The biggest impact, according to Gonzales, will be in scheduling.
“Every week one team in the league will have a bye,” he explained. “When it was six teams it was even, but with seven it is going to create some issues.”
According to the MHS website, the school has teams in eight varsity sports, including wrestling, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, cross country, football, volleyball, swimming and track and field.
Marshfield has seen success in volleyball – third in state for the 5A division in 2012 – and cross country, but failed to win a single football game in the past season.
“I don’t think their size will have that huge an advantage for them,” Gonzales said. “I think it will be fine.”