Tri-City officials are happy because the Mid-Columbia Conference will be getting another 3A competitor. Hermiston officials are happy because their athletes won't be living on a bus for 3 weeks out of the year. Hermiston will become the first out-of-state school to ever join the WIAA and compete in Washington sports.

The final chapter in a months-long saga has come to an end, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and the OSAA (Oregon Schools Activities Association) have formally approved Hermiston High joining the MCC. It will begin with football in the fall of 2018.

The idea began in 2016, when OSAA officials announced Hermiston, one of the fastest growing schools in the state, would be reclassified as a 5A school. They would have to join the Mt. Hood Conference, meaning all their opponents would be in the city of Portland. It would have meant 3-400 mile trips, thousands in travel costs, and at least 3 weeks lost class time for the average 3-sport athlete.

After petitioning the OSAA and WIAA, approval was handed down this week, according to the East Oregonian. Not only will the MCC gain another 3A school joining Kamiakin, Southridge and Kennewick, but several club sports in Oregon are sanctioned sports in WA. Hermiston has a regionally recognized bowling team, now they will be able to compete at the varsity level.

All the MCC coaches were unanimously in favor of the move.

Most of the Tri-City schools already play Hermiston in non-league football, basketball and baseball already at least every other year, so they won't be unfamiliar. The Bulldogs lost to Kamiakin in football in 2015, but beat Kennewick the following season.

The MCC consists of 4A members Richland, Hanford, Pasco, Chiawana, and Walla Walla, and 3A members Kamiakin, Southridge, Kennewick and now Hermiston. The addition of the Bulldogs will bring the total number of schools to 9.