Lebanon looks to get new opponents as OSAA reclassification process winds down

As the Oregon School Activities Association finalizes its plans for realigning the state’s high school athletic leagues for the next four years, 2018-22, Lebanon looks to have a new competitor in the Mid-Willamette Conference.

The latest proposal has current Oregon West member Cascade moving to the 5A Mid-Willamette Conference.

Cascade would essentially replace Woodburn in the MLC, which includes Lebanon and South Albany – despite the fact that the Cougars’ student body of 687 is about 150 less than the student bodies at Dallas and Central, the next-smallest schools in the league. North Salem, the largest, has 1,389. Lebanon’s student body is listed as 1,137, just behind South Albany (1,185) and Silverton (1,158). Other members are Dallas (820), Crescent Valley (921) and Corvallis (1,079).

Woodburn would join the 4A Oregon West Conference with Newport, Philomath, Sisters, Stayton and Sweet Home.

The OSAA Classification and Districting Committee met Aug. 28 to take public testimony and then retired to a work session that focused largely on cut-off points for school size in OSAA’s six divisions.  The committee will meet one more time, on Sept. 25, before sending its final recommendations to the OSAA Executive Board at an Oct. 16 Special Classification and Districting Meeting.

That would be a move for Sweet Home as well, which has been in three different 4A leagues in the last 16 years.

Most redistricting is done based on school size, though schools may request to play up or down, which is what Woodburn, currently in the 5A Division, has done. The Bulldogs’ student body numbers 1,105, nearly triple that of Sisters (371).

Marist moved up to the 5A Division in 2010, where the Spartans have been far less dominant than they were as a 4A team.  Now they are requesting a return to 4A.

The 5A level remains largely unchanged, though Crook County (693) will move back to the 5A Intermountain Conference with Columbia Gorge, Pendleton and Redmond-area schools.