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Duo dilemma: WIAA’s co-op hiccups persist

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Dave Wedeward
November 1, 2007

It’s no secret that co-op teams and how to place private schools from metro areas in tournament divisions are two of the top issues facing the WIAA.


You may have noticed the two have come head-to-head this week with Chippewa Falls McDonell/Eau Claire Regis, a co-op boys soccer team from two private schools, bowling over five opponents by a combined 21-1 score and into the Division 3 state tournament.


WIAA associate director Debra Hauser, who oversees soccer and basketball, says the association has received no reaction to that development. But the same can’t be said about recent results in boys basketball.

Maybe it’s because people only care about the highly visible hardcourt. Whatever the case, there has been plenty of feedback over the fact that four private schools from metro areas comprised the field for the Division 3 boys state basketball tournament last March and that former WISAA members have won eight of the 12 titles in Divisions 2 and 3 since 2002.


The WIAA admittedly still doesn’t have an answer for the future on that issue. And the same appears to be true in placing tighter regulations on co-op programs, particularly in huge school districts with single teams in hockey, gymnastics and golf.


-- The official record shows Janesville Craig’s Bob Suter as one of three to pull off the triple play as an inductee into the Wisconsin baseball, basketball and football coaches’ halls of fame. The others are John “Weenie” Wilson of Dodgeville and Russell Lund of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau.

-- Anybody have a father or surviving grandfather whose father might have played in Edgerton High’s first basketball game, probably in the early 1900s?


-- Edgerton coach Mark Wanless would like to know as he researches the origin of Crimson hoops—or “cage” action, as they called it in those days.
-- Contrary to what you may have read, Kirk Arneson in 2002 was the last Milton boy to reach the WIAA state cross country meet before Cody Brown raced his way to Wisconsin Rapids this fall.

-- Janesville Craig’s boys will be paired against Adams-Friendship, a master of deliberate basketball and hard-nosed zone defense, in an experimental shot-clock game Dec. 26 at the UW Field House.


Both coaches must agree to participate in the experiment for boys and girls during the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Classic. Steve Klaas said his Green Devils welcome the opportunity to go along with Bob Suter and the Cougars in the test of a 35-second clock.

-- The two-day experiment with the shot clock won’t be the only thing speeding up high school basketball this season. To accommodate University of Wisconsin commitments at the Kohl Center, it will be a swift boys season, capped by Feb. 28-March 1 sectionals and a shockingly early March 6-8 state tournament.


That’s two weeks earlier than usual and one week before the girls, but only for one year.


-- After going 0-11 in WIAA playoffs the last two years, Big Eight football took a step in the right direction this year with 2-5 postseason record. But there’s still a ways to go, as shown by co-champions Madison La Follette and Sun Prairie allowing a combined 83 points in their two losses and the conference being outscored by an average of 36-16 in its five defeats.


-- In falling to perennial Badger Conference powers Monona Grove and DeForest in the football playoffs the last two years, Milton got a good glimpse of the competition that lies ahead in next year’s realignment.


While the Red Hawks have gone 7-0 against the tough Classic Eight the last six seasons, they’re 2-7 against Badger opponents during that stretch.


-- Fort Atkinson needs no reminder, either, about the formidable competition it will rejoin in making the move with Milton. As a charter Badger member, Fort went its last 19 years in the conference without a football championship before joining the Southern Lakes in 1997.


-- Milton, for sure, and maybe up-and-down Fort Atkinson might have beaten Monona Grove this year, but nobody should bank on two straight 4-6 seasons from the Silver Eagles.


-- Milton and Fort Atkinson aren’t the only ones headed for a new look next football season. Aside from what might happen in the playoffs, the Rock Valley’s expansion to a 12-school, two-division conference might make Saturday’s showdown the last matchup between Evansville and Brodhead-Juda until 2012.


The schools will be in opposite divisions (North-South) next year. Each conference school will have two crossover games in football, and Evansville vs. Brodhead-Juda isn’t part of the rotation either of the first two two-year periods.


-- If you were spoiled by the breath-taking drama of Evansville vs. Big Foot football the last two weeks, you’ll also be disappointed next year. That matchup also is not part of the early crossover pairings.


While that leaves Big Foot and Brodhead-Juda to seemingly battle for the South title, North Division schools each draw a formidable lineup. Edgerton, for example, will face a conference schedule of Big Foot, East Troy, Evansville, Jefferson, McFarland, Whitewater and Beloit Turner, along with Platteville in non-conference action.


-- The Southern Lakes, whose members go separate ways after this school year, has had an illustrious history. But who, besides Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, ever came out of that conference to sign a $67 million contract in anything?

-- As reflected by their voting, participants in the AP poll seemed to grasp the concept this season, but how many others realize how tough the top of the Rock Valley is in football? After having two undefeated Capitol Conference champions dismantled at Brodhead in the last three years, Lakeside Lutheran (somebody’s pick to reach this year’s state finals) can speak from experience.


All told, look for the Evansville/Brodhead-Juda winner on Saturday to have a good shot at going to Camp Randall and winning it all in Division 4.



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