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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: From Star to Scenic in the north

Sports Writer | May 21, 2020 1:12 AM

Area 1A schools move to new league starting with 2020-21 season

The new league in Division I District 1 high school sports will also be sporting a new name when that time comes a little later this year.

Genesis Prep Academy in Post Falls, Lakeside High in Plummer and Wallace High will compete in the Scenic Idaho Conference, Lakeside co-athletic director Jerel Hight confirmed on Wednesday.

“We’ve talked about moving up in recent years,” Hight said. “When the state (Idaho High School Activities Association) changed the classification to 84 (students and up), we knew there was no way we’re going back to Division II (84 and below). We’ve had an influx of kids in recent years and knew we weren’t dropping down.”

Longtime Lakeside athletic director Ron Miller approached Hight with the idea of the name change.

“He was mentioning that we’d have to do this split, and it wouldn’t be fair to the traditional North Star League — which also includes Clark Fork, Kootenai and Mullan,” Hight said. “We wanted them to keep that name and we’d have something new.”

For the 2020-21 season, the District 1 champion from both divisions advance to state in volleyball and basketball. Genesis Prep does not field a football team.

Lakeside had been classified as Division II since 2014.

“For a long time, it was just us and Wallace,” Hight said. “Looking at our numbers back then, our numbers were going down both in the high school and grade school. I thought we wouldn’t be moving back up for a while then.”

The name change even drew some interest at Lakeside High.

“When we first started talking about it, we had a naming contest with some of our kids and staff,” Hight said. “We brought three suggestions to Wallace and Genesis Prep. We had a name, and then let it sit and see how we felt about it for a few weeks. We were sitting around after a league meeting, and I think it was (Genesis Prep principal) Conrad (Underdahl) that brought up Scenic Idaho. We kind of looked at each other after that, and said, ‘that works.’ We’re done on the Palouse and Genesis Prep is in the middle of Post Falls and Wallace is in downtown Wallace.”

Hight added that the name Timber Ridge Conference was also discussed, but didn’t make the final cut.

The leagues will continue to hold their district tournaments at the same site.

“We’ve got a good relationship with those other schools,” Hight said. “We’re working together as a combined league until districts and state. Everything will be tied together. Basketball worked so well last year at NIC, and we want to continue doing both leagues there. It gives us the added bonus of two championship games instead of just one. It just makes sense to work together. We didn’t want to break that up.”

In football, the winner of the Scenic Idaho League between Lakeside and Wallace will be guaranteed a berth into the 12-team Division I playoffs. The playoffs will be seeded, with the top four teams earning a first round bye, and the other eight teams playing the first weekend according to Hight.

For the 2021-22 season, teams will have to compete in a play-in game to advance to state.