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GSL gets partner in new league

The Greater Spokane League has struck up a working relationship with the new 4A/3A league in Eastern Washington – the Mid-Columbia Conference.

The MCC is the result of the messy divorce this winter in the Columbia Basin Big Nine. The MCC includes all seven of the Tri-Cities schools and Walla Walla. The CBBN will continue with Wenatchee, Eastmont, Moses Lake, Eisenhower, Davis and Sunnyside.

Remember the Welcome Wagon? The GSL played the good neighbor, offering an olive branch to both conferences to work out a deal that would allow the best Eastern Washington 4A and 3A teams and individuals a chance to qualify for state.

“We weren’t going to play favorites,” GSL secretary Herb Rotchford said.

The CBBN said thanks, but no thanks. Although Sunnyside is 3A but will likely move up to 4A the next reclassification cycle, the league is largely a 4A conference. The CBBN has decided it will take its one State 4A berth and go directly to state for the next two years.

The MCC said it wants to work with the GSL. Each league has a 4A and 3A state allocation (berth). They’ll pool the berths together and send the best teams on to state.

That means the crossover week in football will continue with the top two 4A and 3A teams from each league facing off to send teams into the state bracket.

In some form or fashion, the leagues hope to stage subregionals in all other sports. How that will shake out still must be determined, Rotchford said.

It’s always been the GSL’s stance to send the best teams on to state whether it’s all teams from the other league one year or all teams from the GSL. Best means exactly that – best.

It’s been a give-and-take that has been mostly give by the GSL. When the CBBN had a numbers advantage, it made sure to lord it over the GSL.

Now the numbers are going to be even.

The subregionals will be a throwback to the regional days. Perhaps the leagues can rotate sites each year as they did in the past.

Another idea would be landing corporate sponsorships for the subregionals. Especially if one of the potential sites is the Toyota Center – which charges an arm and a leg for events. That’s why it’s not likely 4A, 3A and 2A state volleyball will venture back to the Tri-Cities – or anywhere close to Eastern Washington.

• OK, we know it’s spring sports season. But I couldn’t resist a quick look ahead to football.

I’m often asked which sport I enjoy covering the most. I have a standard reply: The one I’m covering at the moment. But if I look deep down I probably enjoy football the most.

The Greater Spokane League and North Idaho have had a good run in recent years. I see Mead picking up where it left off last year when it captured the GSL title.

Coeur d’Alene, of course, is coming off back-to-back state titles and that ultra-talented senior class is graduating. But the Vikings aren’t going to fall off the map. In fact, don’t be surprised if CdA picks up where it left off, too.

If I were to pick the top two teams this early in Washington, I’d have to go with Skyline and senior-to-be quarterback Max Browne, who announced on Wednesday night that he will play college football at USC. He has a good supporting cast to go with him.

The second-best team could very well be Mead.

OK, that scratches my football itch – at least for this week.