Football coaches in the St. Cloud metro are taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to word last week that district scheduling is coming in 2015.
“I think it’s hard to tell right now,” St. Cloud Tech head coach Gregg Martig said. “You’re kind of playing a guesswork game right now, trying to figure out the scenarios.
“They look a little like the conference, actually.”
The Minnesota State High School League’s board of directors voted to have districts for football only to help with scheduling. While the vote should help many schools struggling to fill schedules, no one is sure how the new districts will look, except they won’t be based solely on section alignments. The new districts will be worked out by a committee with input from administrators this spring with the final proposal expected to be acted upon in May or June.
The only thing certain is that conference scheduling is clearly out.
“I’m disappointed that the state high school league can change everything that we have had in conference scheduling,” Sauk Rapids head coach Bill Magnuson said. “We’re not going to be able to win a conference championship and that’s disappointing.
“My biggest concern is where we’re going to end up. Do we get placed with all those Twin Cities teams only an hour away or do we go up north? And are we going to lose our natural rivalries with Sartell, Apollo and Tech?”
The short answer is no one knows, though officials have said that natural rivalries, geography and program size will all be taken into consideration.
The districts would include between 10-16 teams, but won’t be based solely on current section and conference alignments.
“It seems to me that we can make it (district scheduling) work for 95 percent of the schools,” said St. Cloud Cathedral head coach Andy Auger, who thinks district scheduling may benefit the Crusaders because they seem unlikely to be paired with foes like Becker and Zimmerman.
“It doesn’t sound like it was working for that many before.”
The Central Lakes, Granite Ridge and Mississippi 8 conferences worked together two years ago to ensure that all the teams in those leagues were able to have complete schedules.
“The Central Lakes was proactive two years ago when we did essentially what the high school league just did last week,” Sartell head coach Scott Hentges said. “It worked well for us.”
Hentges echoed what CLC coaches overall said of the new alignment of North and South Divisions in 2013, which were cited by high school league officials of a good example of how districts might work.
“We really like how our schedule worked,” St. Cloud Apollo head coach Justin Skaalerud said. “For us, now there’s a lot of unknowns on how it might look like.”
The feeling among coaches is that current CLC member Willmar may wind up in a different district. Rocori also sees itself on the bubble.
“I would really like to stay with Tech, Apollo, Sartell and Sauk Rapids,” Rocori head coach Mike Rowe said. “We’ve got some nice rivalries there and some nice travel.
“But I’m also realistic.”
District scheduling could move the Spartans west and south with Willmar or north with programs like Albany or Little Falls.
Rowe also noted he could see Rocori possibly being placed with some Class 3A programs possibly like New London-Spicer.
“One of the points on this was to eliminate travel,” Rowe said, noting that similar-sized Class 4A programs north would include Detroit Lakes and Thief River Falls. “All we can do is speculate.”
It’s back to the drawing board for the St. Cloud Icebreakers girls hockey team.
The Icebreakers embarked on their longest road trip of the season over the weekend with stops at Thief River Falls and Roseau.
Two wins likely would have assured St. Cloud of a top seed in Section 8-2A. Instead, the Icebreakers lost 3-1 to Thief River Falls and 2-1 to Roseau.
“We learned that we’ve got to play all 51 minutes of the game,” head coach Mark Chamernick said of the trip. “We took the second period off, again. We can’t keep doing that.
“We’ve got to come out and outwork our opponents.”
St. Cloud has a 16-4-1 record and could still wind up with the top seed. But the schedule offers no breaks.
The Icebreakers were scheduled to host to River Lakes at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Municipal Athletic Complex, though that game is postponed because neither program has school Tuesday because of the frigid temperatures.
The Icebreakers are then host to Willmar on Thursday and play Alexandria next Monday.
“It’s a tough schedule,” Chamernick said. “We have to get them back going in the right direction and on the same page.”
Kendra Rasmussen is a starting defenseman on the Penn State women’s hockey team.
The sophomore from Sartell was a two-time Times’ player of the year for the Sartell/Sauk Rapids girls hockey team.
Rasmussen has one goal in 19 games for the Nittany Lions (4-19-2).
Foley junior basketball player Tara Dusharm made a visit to the University of Iowa. Dusharm is a 6-foot-5 center for the Falcons.
Playing for Iowa right now is former Sauk Centre star Kali Peschel.