HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS
HIADA debating divisions on Maui
Classification is here to stay, but the format may change
WAILEA » At one time, Waiakea High School was the largest in the state.
With 2,500 students, the Warriors dominated the Big Island Interscholastic Federation in several sports. Today, with an enrollment of only half that number, Waiakea has lost its Goliath proportions, but remains a BIIF power.
The landscape of prep sports has changed over the years, though, and with the development of Division II state championships, the BIIF is primarily competitive in that category.
That's why longtime Waiakea athletic director Ken Yamase, who will become the BIIF's executive director on July 1, has a deeply layered perspective of classification. That issue is at the forefront at the 46th annual Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference this week at the Wailea Marriott Resort.
While administrators and fans can agree that Divisions I and II are here to stay, there is still a wide range of criteria from league to league to determine who qualifies at which level.
"The Division II concept has proven popular," said Yamase, who sits on the committee that will discuss and debate criteria for determining classification of schools and tournament representation. Since the birth of classification at the state level, all leagues have retained autonomy in defining their criteria.
"The OIA uses a power rating, but in a league like the KIF with only three teams, it doesn't work," Yamase said. "The OIA has 24 schools; that's a feasible power rating. The best combination is a power rating with enrollment."
Based strictly on enrollment, most neighbor-island schools would be defined as D-II. So would a few OIA schools.
"Kahuku would be in D-II," Aiea assistant athletic director Wendell Say said. "Nanakuli would be considered a small school."
There are OIA schools that have enrollments in excess of 2,000 that play at the D-II level. Aiea's enrollment isn't quite in that range, and Say thinks criteria doesn't need much tweaking.
As Aiea's football coach, Say guided his team to a Division II state title and two Division I state-tourney appearances in the past five years.
"We played Damien for the (D-II) championship and people said we were the big school, but realistically, Damien is an all-boys school. They might have as many boys as we do."
Yamase concedes that there is no perfect scenario.
"There will never be a plan that will please everybody, otherwise we would've come up with one years ago," he said. "A solution might not fit the needs of all, but there has to be some give and take."
The criteria issue was kept alive by the Maui Interscholastic League, spearheaded by longtime Seabury Hall coach and athletic director Steve Colflesh. Like Colflesh, Yamase isn't expecting radical changes, but remains optimistic.
"There's good grounds to make a lot of progress," he said. "There's a foundation we can build on."
The conference opened yesterday with a general assembly and committee breakout sessions, along with the usual product demonstrations and a guest speaker. Over the next two days, each committee will debate concerns and recommendations assigned by HIADA's overseers.
Voting will close the conference by mid-day tomorrow.
Another committee will asses nine items, including the possibility of adding D-II state tournaments for boys basketball, girls soccer and baseball. If the proposal passes this week, the recommendation will be offered up to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive committee for passage.
"We have to look at all team sports in all fairness," Yamase said.
The success of last season's Division II state volleyball tournaments has served as an impetus for supporters. The HHSAA committee boldly decided last summer to not only add D-II tournaments, but to include 12 entries for each of the tournaments (boys and girls), a number equal to the Division I state championships.
To the chagrin of some track and field coaches, there is no proposal to return to a three-day format for the trials and finals of the state championships. Some, such as Baldwin coach Neil Takeyama and Kahuku senior standout Redmond Tutor, felt that smaller teams such as theirs were impacted negatively by the change to a two-day format.
Still, there are eight items up for discussion within that sport.
The only football item up for discussion was initiated by the BIIF, which wants to see the third- and fourth-seeded state-tourney teams host first-round games.