Ashland High will be part of the seven-team Midwestern League during the 2014 through 2018 time block according to the Oregon School Activities Association's latest reclassification, approved by the OSAA's classification and districting committee Monday.
Ashland, which boasts an average daily membership of 865 students, will be one of two teams in the league south of Eugene — the other being Eagle Point. The other schools in the new MWL are Churchill, former Southern Oregon Hybrid 6A member Crater, Marist, North Eugene and Springfield.
Ashland and Eagle Point have been the only members of the Southern Oregon Hybrid Class 5A league since the current four-year time block went into effect during the 2010-11 school year. In the hybrid model, Ashland became scheduling partners with SOH 6A schools North Medford, South Medford, Roseburg and Grants Pass. The deal cut down on travel time but also produced some lopsided results — during the 2012-13 season, the Ashland boys basketball team lost 95-23 to North Medford and 75-25 to Roseburg in back to back games. For the upcoming basketball season, Ashland has instead scheduled games against teams from the 4A Skyline Conference: Phoenix, Henley, Hidden Valley, North Valley, Mazama and Klamath Union.
The seven-team league approved for the 2014-2018 time block by the OSAA redistricting committee Monday, listed in order of average daily membership.
Crater Comets 1,148
Springfield Millers 1,082
Eagle Point Eagles 1,006
Churchill Lancers 932
Ashland Grizzlies 865
North Eugene Highlanders 862
Marist Spartans 527
In the new Midwestern League, Crater is the league's largest school in terms of average daily membership with 1,148 students, while Marist, a Catholic private school in Eugene, is the smallest with 527. Ashland ranks fifth and Eagle Point third (1,006).
The OSAA opted to do away with hybrid leagues in the latest reclassification and slightly shifted the class-by-class breakdown. Class 6A, consisting of the largest schools (1,258 students or more, not counting schools that have opted to play up), will go from 44 schools in the last time block to 51 over the next four years. Class 5A (ADMs of 676 to 1,257) will drop from 37 schools to 33, 4A (331 to 675) will drop from 43 to 40 and 3A (191 to 330) will add three schools to total 42. There will be 44 Class 2A schools and 80 1As.
The 5A classification will be made up of five conferences during the next time block — the MWL, the nine-team Northwest Oregon Conference, the eight-team Mid-Willamette Conference, the five-team Intermountain Conference and the four-team Columbia River Conference.