WIAA Realignment: WIAA approves realignment plan

WIAA Realignment: WIAA approves realignment plan

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WIAA Realignment: WIAA approves realignment plan

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STEVENS POINT

The WIAA’s Board of Control on Wednesday approved a massive realignment proposal that will reshape the look of high school athletics in Northeast Wisconsin.

The plan will affect 76 schools spanning eight conferences in the realignment that was approved by a 10-1 vote at the WIAA offices and will be implemented beginning in the fall of 2015.

The biggest moves involved the Bay and Eastern Valley conferences. The Bay will feature former FRCC teams Green Bay East and Green Bay West, ex-Fox Valley Association member Menasha and former Eastern Valley power Xavier. New London, Seymour, West De Pere and Shawano complete the new-look Bay, which will also add a ninth team, Waupaca, for football only.

Green Bay West associate principal and activities director Josh Murnane was at the meeting and asked the Board to push the proposal through. He said his school’s move to the Bay will hopefully result in better competitiveness after years of struggling in the FRCC.

Manitowoc Lincoln athletic director John Johnson believes the move will also help the FRCC as a whole.

“It will make our conference more competitive from top to bottom,” Johnson said. “That’s going to mean that we are going to have to kick it into gear and make sure we have more kids out for athletics. We want to make sure that we stay competitive in the league.”

WIAA Board of Control member and president Dean Sanders of Lake Mills said that the decision was a difficult one, but one that had to be made for the betterment of the almost 80 schools involved in the realignment.

“Eighty schools … that’s one-fifth of our membership,” Sanders said. “We had to rely on the plan that was given to us and to rely on the questions that were brought forth at the December meeting and several emails and make the best choice that we can make.

“Now does that mean that every school is going to be happy? No. And we know that. And we know that there will be some schools in the future that say, ‘For us, we need to appeal to you to move to another conference.’ And that’s their right. But to throw it out because of one or two or five of those that say that … it didn’t make sense to put 80 or so on hold because of that.”

The revamped Eastern Wisconsin Conference will add Brillion, Chilton, Roncalli and Valders from the Olympian Conference along with holdovers Kiel, New Holstein, Sheboygan Falls and Two Rivers.

Two Rivers athletic director Matt La Tour believes the new alignment of the EWC will cut down on travel time and costs.

“We’re very pleased that it went through. We really like the mix of schools and teams that are in the conference,” La Tour said. “It will be a huge relief to us as transportation goes.”

Roncalli president John Stelzer echoed some of La Tour’s sentiments.

“It’s certainly respectable travel times. The sizes of the schools and the quality of the programs are very good,” Stelzer said. “While we enjoy where we are, we look forward to a new challenge in the new Eastern Wisconsin Conference.”

The Central Lakeshore Conference will form a 14-team conference with the remaining Olympian holdovers, including Mishicot, Reedsville, and Manitowoc Lutheran.

“We really, really liked the Olympian Conference. Coaches got along, athletic directors got along, principals got along. It was a great working relationship,” Reedsville AD Steve Mirsberger said. “With that said, through no fault of the Olympian, we are moving forward with a new league and hoping to create the same kind of relationships and environment that we left.”

“We’re optimistic. We (Reedsville) have had quite a few non-conference events scheduled with the Central Lakeshore in the past, and those have gone well. I’m optimistic and looking forward to creating new relationships with that league.”

Manitowoc Lutheran AD David Uhlhorn shared in Mirsberger’s optimism.

“I’m excited about the possibilities,” Uhlhorn said. “I certainly value the partnership that we had with the Olympian Conference, there were some great people involved, but I’m also excited for what the Central Lakeshore can bring.”

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