By JOHN McCALLUM
Cheney will be a busy sports town Labor Day weekend as a pair of high school classics descend on local athletic facilities.
Cheney High School will play host to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Volleyball Invitational, formerly the Emerald City Volleyball Invitational, Friday, Aug. 31 while Eastern Washington University's Roos Field will be the site of the annual Kickoff Classic Saturday, Sept. 1.
“The Association has enjoyed giving student-athletes the opportunity to play in some great facilities,” WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese said in a news release. “The opportunity to showcase our schools in Eastern Washington and to play on the Inferno (EWU) and at Cheney High School is very exciting for everyone involved.”
The Kickoff Classic has annually been held at CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, but is moving east this year because University of Washington's renovation of Husky Stadium has the Huskies playing at CenturyLink. Typically featuring high schools from Western Washington, this year's Classic will showcase Eastside schools, including Cheney who takes on fellow 2A classification member East Valley-Yakima at 4 p.m.
Other games will pit Tekoa-Oakesdale-Rosalia (1B) against Reardan (2B) at 10 a.m., the Great Northern League's newest member Colville (2A) against Freeman (1A) at 1 p.m. and Greater Spokane League 4A powers Central Valley against Ferris at 7 p.m.
Tickets to the Kickoff Classic can be purchased at Cheney High School or at the gate on game day, with adults $15, students with valid ASB card and seniors 62 and over $10 and children under age 5 free.
Contacted Tuesday, Aug. 21, Colbrese said the volleyball tournament was being moved east because it had always been paired with the Kickoff Classic. The WIAA felt it important to maintain that relationship.
“In many cases we've had the same schools participating in each,” Colbrese said.
The Volleyball Invitational will feature a new format at Cheney High School's Main and Hatch gyms with games between varsity, junior varsity and C squads. Seven schools will compete: Cheney, Newport and Lakeside from the 1A Northeast League, Moses Lake from the 4A Big Nine and the GSL's Gonzaga Prep, Ferris and University.
Another new feature for 2012 is that each of the four football games will be shown live on the WIAA Network courtesy of the WIAA, PlayOn Sports and SWX. During halftime of each football game a highlight package from the Volleyball Invitational will be shown.
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.