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home : sports & recreation : sports & outdoors May 29, 2016

3/5/2014 10:13:00 PM
CTL down to four teams
Matt Baide
Staff Writer

The Caribou Trail League is still alive as four teams will make up the league over the next two years.
Chelan, Cashmere, Cascade and Omak will make up the CTL for the next two school years until the new enrollment numbers for the WIAA come out in 2016.
The athletic directors from the four schools traveled to Royal City last Wednesday, Feb. 19, to meet with a number of AD's from different schools to help fill out schedules.
"The WIAA said those schools need to give up their non-league and their crossover games to fill our schedule so we have a complete schedule," Chelan Athletic Director Rob Rainville said. "The silver lining of that is that we get to play some really competitive teams. Our football season will consist of travelling to Meridian but Bellevue Christian will come here. We've got some really good schools from the westside and the SCAC that we are going to do some weekend volleyball, playing two matches a day. We're trying to make the best thing work where it's not more travel but still getting good competition for our kids."
How the postseason will work for the CTL is still a question without an answer. Rainville said that he hopes that the Northeast A League (NEA) will agree to a Regional tournament with the league like they have done in the past. If this happens, it could open up more allocations for CTL teams to go to State. The NEA, which includes teams like Freeman and Lakeside, was in a similar situation, and the CTL took them in to play in a Regional.
"We are hoping that they repay the favor," Rainville said.
However, if the NEA does not agree to the Regional idea, then it would be a situation where the No. 1 and No. 2 teams would play in a playoff game to determine which team will play in the State tournament.
All of this comes after the denial of the three CTL schools to join the SCAC. The CTL schools proposal was denied by the SCAC, which was appealed to the WIAA, also denying the proposal of the three CTL schools.
"My opinion on this is that it came down to competition," Rainville said. "They were talking about travel and out of classroom costs, but those are everybody's concerns as an athletic director. It wasn't easy, it was going to be more cost for Chelan in the long run, too, because we have been central for so long, that traveling to DeSales or Royal is going to be more travel. However, we've been pretty fortunate. Cascade to Tonasket is three hours and our longest road trip, had we joined the SCAC in the north, we would have been about two and a half. Our proposal wasn't as much about travel and out of classroom time as they appeared it to be."
The WIAA stepped in and helped the CTL schools fill out their schedules, with a lot of the SCAC teams playing CTL schools. The other proposal was to allow the CTL schools to compete with the SCAC for the State berths that the league was allocated, but the league said no.
Teams like Brewster and Okanogan will still compete against Chelan in some sports in the next couple of years. With scheduling, Chelan has made some compromises, such as playing Highland High School (Cowiche) in Quincy in girls soccer, with the teams meeting in the middle to reduce travel time.
"We've been pretty creative in trying to eliminate out of classroom time, eliminate the travel costs, but when you are trying to find 14 games in basketball, you are going to have to travel some places, especially when most of those schools have a league started already by then," Rainville said.
CTL member Omak has decided to play down with the 2B's during the regular season, while competing with the 1A's for postseason. Rainville said he never really saw that as an option.
There was consideration for the schools to play up with the 2A's, but that idea didn't work out due to travel circumstances.
"The 2B's was never really an option only because they had a lot of teams in there," Rainville said. "I don't think we'd be accepted. My original suggestion was joining the 2A's. Some of those schools like Quincy and Ephrata, we can compete with. I think the same issue though was, us doing the travel, Yakima, Prosser, Eisenhower, those places where it would be better if we were to travel, to stay in the same classification, which is why we really hoped for the SCAC. We looked at every option possible and it's been a rough couple two months without answers. I think we're heading in the right direction."
If the league remains four teams fighting for one State berth, it's a safe bet to assume the level of competition between the schools will increase.
"What will happen is we'll have to do a District six CTL championship of some sort, which I imagine is one versus two, three versus four. Three versus four would just be for placing in the league and then one and two would decide who's going to postseason," Rainville said. "The sad thing about that is it could go lots of different ways. If you play each other three times in basketball or twice in volleyball, it could come down to that one match or set of matches whether you go to State or not. It's just unfair because I think the idea, Chelan, Cashmere, Cascade specifically have been so regular in postseason play that if you eliminate that to one, I believe the best teams aren't being allowed to go compete at State."
Rainville said he hopes to meet with the NEA as early as this week to try and figure out a Regional playoff between the leagues.
"My hope is if they put an eight team bracket in there, and they have five get in and we have three, or six and two, that's appealing to some of those lower end people in the NEA saying hey, I have an opportunity to go to Regionals now under these circumstances," Rainville said. "So, I hope their schools and their AD's are looking at that aspect."
Rainville also discussed the possibility of a super-Regional, with Districts five, six and seven getting the best teams together and fighting it out for Regionals. Rainville said Chelan is all for that idea as well.
As for the current CTL, those days will come to an end following the end of the 2014 Spring sports season. But the league will be remembered for how competitive it was, in league play and postseason play.
"It was really competitive," Rainville said. "I think we've been pretty lucky because Chelan, especially in basketball and volleyball, has (done fairly) well most of the time in postseason. Our football team made great strides this year, I think they are going to have an awesome opportunity to compete next year. I think all of those schools will continue to play some non-leagues and have some competition. But I think the hope is that at some point, (a) couple teams come back to the CTL when numbers change again."

Matt Baide can be reached at 509-682-2213 or by email

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