The question of whether Mt. Spokane would have to forfeit a football win was rendered moot before District 8 administrators tested the new WIAA oversight rule.
The player in question was academically eligible after all. In an e-mail, Central Valley principal and this year’s Greater Spokane League president Mike Hittle explained that the youngster regained eligibility Sept. 28.
The Wildcats’ 56-0 victory at East Valley – his one varsity game, for two plays – was Oct. 16, rendering the issue irrelevant.
Mt. Spokane activities coordinator Paul Kautzman explained the grades in question were from the second semester of last year and though typically coaches are informed, this instance slipped through the cracks. It wasn’t until this fall that the oversight came to light.
Once discovered, the school self-reported as quickly as possible, he said, offered to forfeit and then appealed citing an inadvertent clerical error.
Kautzman said an extensive check of the student’s grades confirmed his eligibility at the time of the EV varsity game.
Two prior junior varsity games he participated in while on academic suspension, against North Central and Clarkston, Kautzman said, will be forfeited.
“It ended up being a lot better than it could have been,” he said. “We did our due diligence and are glad to know the focus is on the things that matter, on the field.”
Mt. Spokane, tied for first in the Greater Spokane League and top 3A seed for the post-season, finishes its regular-season schedule against Rogers with a chance for its first eight-win season.
Football playoff update
Mead won its fifth straight football game to continue its bid for post-season in the crowded GSL playoff chase. Coach Sean Carty, whose Panthers play Central Valley on Thursday for the league’s No. 1 seed, isn’t wavering in his approach.
“Nothing’s really changed,” he said. “Whether we’re in it or out of it we feel we have to win this week anyway.”
Five of six 4A teams remain eligible for three playoff berths with a week remaining in league play. There are eight different scenarios, league secretary Randy Ryan said, in determining which of the five qualify. Some will be settled from head-to-head results, and some would necessitate three-team mini playoffs to determine the second and third qualifiers.
Potential ties that would create the stickiest wickets are if three or four teams – Mead (6-2), Central Valley (6-1), Gonzaga Prep (5-2) and University (5-3) – finish with six wins apiece; or if the Panthers, Bullpups and Ferris (4-3) finish with three losses each.
Girls soccer playoffs
For the second straight year Mt. Spokane defeated district rival Mead, this year’s win giving it a tie for its first GSL championship. The Panthers, with whom the Wildcats tied, have won or shared 19.
“They’ve come out and played well against us all three years and gotten results the last two,” Mead coach Steve Snider said. “They’ve had that dynamic player who made a play against us. Last year it was Averi Hallman and this year, in a 1-1 game, Delaney Zalud hit a shot from 35 or 40 yards.”
Mt. Spokane, Mead and Lewis and Clark all finished with 9-1 GSL records. The Panthers beat LC and the Tigers beat Mt. Spokane, but finished third, a point off the lead, because another win was by shootout (3 points are awarded for regular win, 2 points for shootout win).
The Wildcats are one of four GSL 3A regional qualifiers. On Saturday North Central plays East Valley at CV, winner traveling to West Valley-Yakima. Mt. Spokane plays the winner of Shadle Park at Hanford on Nov. 4.
District 8 4A playoffs begin with tomorrow’s loser-out match between No. 4 and 5 seeds Gonzaga Prep and Central Valley, 6 p.m. The tourney continues Saturday, the winner playing Mead at 1 p.m. following LC versus U-Hi at 11 a.m. At stake are three regional berths. All matches are at Albi Stadium.
Prior to the season, Gonzaga Prep coach Jeff Christopher said at season’s start that his girls “have an incredible bond. These girls truly put each other first.”
It panned out for the Bullpups, who had a 7-3 GSL record and are No. 2 seed in the 4A District 8 volleyball tournament that begins Wednesday.
They host Lewis and Clark at 7 p.m. in one of two four-team tournaments that will qualify seven teams (three 4A and four 3A) to regional play against the Columbia Basin Big Nine. Tournaments conclude Saturday at Mt. Spokane with five matches beginning at 9 a.m.
Mead’s top-ranked state team is a heavy 4A favorite. Behind them it’s wide open. The Panthers host University in the other 4A game Wednesday.
Mt. Spokane has the upper hand among 3A schools after finishing second in league with a 9-1 record. The Wildcats host Shadle Park (1-9) and North Central (3-7) is at East Valley (4-6) on Wednesday.