Bainbridge joins Metro leagueThe school expects tough competition.

"The Spartan athletic program has been accepted by the AAA Metro League, the Bainbridge Island School District's first choice.Metro public school members, looking at increased travel time and expense for teams playing Bainbridge, pondered before accepting the Spartans but ultimately gave the district the nod in a unanimous vote this week. "

  • Saturday, December 2, 2000 6:00am
  • Sports

“The Spartan athletic program has been accepted by the AAA Metro League, the Bainbridge Island School District’s first choice.Metro public school members, looking at increased travel time and expense for teams playing Bainbridge, pondered before accepting the Spartans but ultimately gave the district the nod in a unanimous vote this week.Another stumbling block to admitting Bainbridge is adding an odd 13th team to the current 12-team alignment, divided into Mountain and Sound divisions, resulting in one team having a bye in football every week. Metro officials hope to bring in another school in the next few weeks to restore an even number of teams. At this point, Bainbridge hasn’t been assigned to either division.The change will go into effect with the fall 2001 sports season, an ebullient Bainbridge High School principal Dave Ellick announced at the school board meeting Thursday. We’ve received nothing but support, Ellick said. We’re appreciative of the Metro League’s accepting us. Our challenge is to make them happy with us and proud of us as members.The search for another league was initiated when it became apparent that all eight of the Spartans’ current partners in the Olympic League would be going to other conferences.Competitive Metro was Bainbridge’s top choice in a search that included consideration of the Narrows, Pierce and Nisqually Leagues.The AAA Metro League is comprised of 13 public and private schools, nearly all within a half-hour travel time from the ferry. Public schools are Ballard, Nathan Hale, Chief Sealth, West Seattle, Ingraham, Cleveland, and Rainier Beach. Private schools are co-ed Seattle Prep, Bishop Blanchet, Lakeside and Eastside Catholic (Bellevue), plus Holy Names (girls) and O’Dea (boys). In recent years Seattle’s athletic balance of power has tilted largely in the direction of the private schools, with O’Dea a perennial power in football and Holy Names putting together arguably the state’s pre-eminent girls’ track and field program.Bainbridge athletic director Neal White said he is pleased with the move, though he noted that we’ll definitely have to raise our level of play. Seattle Prep and Blanchet won state cross-country, Lakeside won the girls’ soccer state championship, and O’Dea made it to the semis in football, he said.White identified three major changes that will come with the move: * Because Metro swimming is co-ed and a winter sport, the Spartan girls have to find another league in which to compete, and White is currently seeking one.* Golf will become a fall sport.* Eighth grade boys can no longer play freshman football.The change will have a profound effect on Spartan post-season aspirations as Bainbridge will move from District 3 to District 2. District 2 now consists of the Metro, Kingco and Seamount Leagues, and provides six post-season berths in football and basketball. Competing against perennially powerful programs from Kingco schools such as Mercer Island and Newport, in addition to Metro foes, means the Spartans will have their work cut out for them to qualify for playoffs. And with the Seamount League considering a merger with the Pierce County League, which would move it out of District 2, qualifying could become even tougher. Dee Axelrod contributed to this report. “

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