New classifications would change high school sports in Renton

Every four years schools can change classification. How does that impact Renton high schools?

The WIAA (Washington Interscholastic Activities Association) deadline for schools to appeal their new classification for the 2024-2028 seasons was on Jan. 5 — and Renton area high schools might have some changes on the horizon.

Renton and Liberty high schools don’t have the student numbers to move up or go down in their respective classifications. So the Redhawks will remain at 2A and Liberty at 3A.

The WIAA introduced a new metric for measuring the number of students on free/reduced lunch. Instead of relying on the schools, the WIAA is using a Local Education Agency (LEA) to determine direct certification. The direct certification is a more accurate way to tell what percentage of students are on free/reduced lunch.

If a school has over 35%, it is given an adjusted enrollment and classification based on that adjusted enrollment.

Lindbergh and Hazen high schools both have increased adjusted enrollment numbers and are eligible to move up classifications in sports competition..

In the last four years Lindbergh competed at 2A with an adjusted enrollment 869, and in the same league as Renton, 2A KingCo.

This year, Lindbergh has an adjusted enrollment of 905, making the cut by just five students. There is a thought that the Eagles won’t compete at 3A, but they have the numbers for it.

Lindbergh has been a 3A school before and 4A prior to that.

From 1989-2010, the Eagles were a 3A school and made countless state tournaments in that 22-year span, changing from 4A in 1988.

Hazen also looks like they will be moving forward next season into the state’s largest classification of 4A. Four years ago, the Highlanders were at 1,253 enrollment, which was 47 short of 4A. This time around, Hazen is the largest high school in the Renton School District at 1,337.

The Highlanders were also 4A until 1989, when they also got bumped down to 3A before getting moved back up to 4A in the late 2010s, and then back to 3A in 2020.

Hazen’s boys soccer team had some success back in 2021, making the state tournament, but outside of that, there was not a Hazen team that made any state tournament in these last four years.

Schools have the opportunity to appeal to the WIAA whether to stay where they are, or move up or down. And on Jan. 18, the WIAA will hear those cases. On the Jan. 21, the public should know the future of all the Renton area high schools athletics in the KingCo league.

That is one thing that all four of these schools’ benefit from is the dexterity of the KingCo league. There is a 2A, 3A and 4A classification for schools to compete.