Overlake and Bear Creek athletic teams that now compete in the 1A Emerald City League will join 12 other teams in the new 1A Emerald Sound Conference beginning in the 2020-21 season.
Fellow Emerald City League schools University Prep, Seattle Academy, Bush, Eastside Prep, Northwest School and Forest Ridge (girls only) will merge with 1A North Sound Conference schools Cedar Park Christian, King’s, Sultan, Granite Falls and South Whidbey along with Seattle public charter school Summit Sierra to form the District 2 league.
That number of schools was finalized after the WIAA final opt-up deadline closed on Jan. 15.
League officials noted in a press release the benefits of the merger “include divisional play leading to more competitive equity and more opportunity for student-athletes in all sports and at all levels.”
The league will focus on providing education-based athletics, emphasizing sportsmanship and fair play and building relationships with neighboring schools and communities.
Athletic directors Chad Pohlman of Bear Creek and John Wiley of Overlake said their schools are excited about the merger.
“The new Emerald Sound Conference will allow divisional play, giving the opportunity for better competitive balance which ultimately leads to a better student experience,” Pohlman noted. “We are eager to see how this new format plays out and believe that we have a creative solution that other leagues around the state will certainly be keeping an eye on.”
Added Wiley: “You’d have a hard time finding another league in the state at any level which includes public schools, charter schools, and private schools. We’re excited about the educational experiences our athletes will have in all aspects of competition.”