HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS
ILH decision clears up classification questions
HAPUNA » A series of meetings within the Interscholastic League of Honolulu has created a clear-cut criteria for classification.
The league has determined that schools with a single-gender enrollment of 250, or 500 for co-ed, will play in Division II.
All other schools are required to play in Division I. Those would include Maryknoll and Sacred Hearts, two schools that have flip-flopped between the divisions in recent years.
Division II programs will still have the option to play in the tougher D-I format. Word of Life Academy did this two seasons ago in girls volleyball when All-State player Careena Onosai was a senior.
The league will also permit an exception: one sport, by gender, per D-I school will be permitted to play in Division II. Though the Maui Interscholastic League was the first to rely on enrollment as a major criteria for classifying its teams, the ILH is the first to use clear-cut numbers.
"We had countless hours of meetings with principals and athletic directors," Mid-Pacific athletic director Bill Villa said during a break at the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference. "For now, we feel this is in the best interest of our league."
The newly-established cutoff numbers will benefit some long-suffering athletic programs, such as Hawaii Baptist. The school's success, particularly in girls volleyball, has often been tempered by elimination during the ILH Division I playoffs by much larger schools. Over the past five years, it is possible that the Eagles could have won two or three state championships at the D-II level -- if permitted by the league.
Now, however, HBA is well-qualified by the criteria. The school has 400 high school students and will be allowed to compete at the D-II level in all sports.
"Oh yeah. Our teams will benefit from this," athletic director Deren Oshiro said.