Tri-Cities schools start new league, Wa-Hi joining

The new league looks to have bylaws and a name established within a month.

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RICHLAND - The as-of-yet-unnamed Tri-Cities (and Walla Walla) league is a go.

Officials from the Tri-Cities decided to move ahead with a new league centered on the three cities Friday morning after pulling out of negotiations to save the former Columbia Basin Big Nine earlier in the week.

Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Mick Miller confirmed Walla Walla will be a part of the fledgling league.

"We're going to be part of the new league," Miller said. "It was an incredibly positive meeting. The schools there have a real desire to be cooperative, and included Walla Walla in the discussion. Pasco and Kennewick's superintendents talked about understanding Walla Walla's need to travel. It was both encouraging and gratifying to see that people are understanding our circumdtances."

The league will consist of Hanford, Pasco, Chiawana, Kennewick, Wa-Hi, Richland, Southridge and Kamiakin. Although it was earlier reported that Sunnyside elected to remain in the remnants of the CBBN, Miller said that representatives from Sunnyside were present and expressed interest in possibly joining the new league. Sunnyside and Walla Walla are approximately the same distance to the Tri-Cities.

The new league will also look to the Greater Spokane league for inspiration in writing its bylaws, Miller said, and will look to continue the postseason arrangement the CBBN now holds with the GSL.

The league hopes to have bylaws and a name in place within a month.

Athletic directors meet next Thursday to lay out a tentative schedule, which Miller said should allow the league to begin scheduling non-league matches.

Miller said students and faculty will be included in selecting a name for the new league.

"Following almost three weeks of work trying to iron out differences between schools in the Columbia Basin Big Nine, common ground and agreement could not be made," Miller said. "While we hate to leave the CBBN, a new league will greatly reduce travel for student athletes, coaches and parents to support our goals of reducing travel costs and loss of class time."

With a growing population and a growing amount of schools reaching 3A and 4A WIAA classifications in the Tri-Cities, a move to create a Tri-Cities based league was inevitable, Miller said.

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