It’s (almost) official: The Classification and Districting Committee on Wednesday issued its final recommendation for statewide leagues for all high schools and sports (except) football and, as expected, Canby was lowered from 6A — the largest classification — to 5A for all athletics and OSAA-sanctioned activities.
The Cougars currently compete at 5A only in football, where they have seen a rapid resurgence after enduring a 22-game losing streak that ended just two years ago.
For most other sports and activities, the Cougs are at 6A, where it is one of the smallest public schools in the state at that level — and plays in the brutally competitive Three Rivers League — whose schools are geographically convenient, but all larger or more affluent than Canby School District.
That’s not to say the Cougars are doomed to failure at the 6A level. The Canby Cougar dance team has won the state title five years running (though dance and drill troupes compete without regard to classifications in Oregon), while the volleyball team finished as the top public school in Oregon in 2019.
Even this year, the Canby cross country team finished third in the TRL to claim its first ticket to the state finals in 15 years.
Cougar Country on Twitter: “The final recommendation is in from the @OSAASports Classification & Districting Committee, and no real surprise: @CanbyAthletics is at 5A for all sports (football will be decided by the Ad Hoc Committee, but is almost guaranteed to stay at 5A as well). pic.twitter.com/AW4a4P5vKU / Twitter”
The final recommendation is in from the @OSAASports Classification & Districting Committee, and no real surprise: @CanbyAthletics is at 5A for all sports (football will be decided by the Ad Hoc Committee, but is almost guaranteed to stay at 5A as well). pic.twitter.com/AW4a4P5vKU
But the odds are typically not in the Cougs’ favor, and the feeling of many coaches and parents is that Canby should compete against schools who look like it in terms of enrollment and demographics.
The OSAA committee seemed to agree, placing Canby at 5A in every six-classification proposal it came out with, including this week’s final recommendation.
Under the group’s criteria for 5A, schools’ three-year average senior class size should be between 608 and 1,004. Canby’s average senior class size of 957 puts it at the higher end of that range — but well under the cutoff.
Under the committee’s final recommendation, which goes to the OSAA Executive Board for approval next month, the Cougs would compete in a newly created Northwest Oregon Conference with crosstown rival Wilsonville, along with Hillsboro, Hood River Valley, Milwaukie, Putnam, Centennial (a 6A school that was approved to play down) and two schools playing up.
The two 4A schools would be La Salle Prep, a perennial powerhouse in a number of sports, and Parkrose, which petitioned to play up primarily for travel reasons. The Executive Board meets December 13 to consider the proposal.
If approved, the change would take effect in the 2022-23 season and last at least four years.
Because nothing in Oregon high school sports is simple, football leagues and classifications are organized by a different body, the OSAA Football Ad Hoc Committee.
Canby is virtually certain to remain at 5A for football as well, but its league may look slightly — or very — different from the one in which it competes for other sports.
That committee is expected to take up its work after the Christmas holiday.
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