Taking a peek at next winter’s roads to state
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association released its winter tournament assignments last week in anticipation of competition returning for the 2020-21 school year.
The new assignments bring very little change for teams and athletes competing at Medford, Rib Lake and Gilman high schools.
_ In Division 2 basketball, any Medford fans hoping the Raiders’ move to the western side of their sectional bracket was a one-year quirk will be disappointed. Both Raider teams will again play in an 11-team sectional half-bracket that features Holmen, La Crosse Central and Logan, Menomonie, New Richmond, Onalaska, Rice Lake, River Falls, Sparta and Tomah.
In fact, nothing has changed on either side of the 22-team sectional for either gender. The boys sectional semifinal is set to be played at Osseo-Fairchild and the final is set for New Richmond. The girls sectional semifinal has been placed in La Crosse Logan. The sectional final site is to be determined.
_ In Division 5 basketball, Stevens Point Pacelli is a noteworthy addition to Rib Lake’s boys and girls half-brackets. Prentice also joins the boys half-bracket after playing in the state’s northwest sectional this past winter. Columbus Catholic and Loyal move out of the boys bracket to the Onalaska sectional.
Prentice was tabbed to host the girls sectional semifinal, while Waupaca gets the boys semifinal. D.C. Everest is the girls final host, while Pulaski is again set to host the boys final.
In the northwest sectional, Gilman sees only one change in its boys half-bracket. A new WIAA school, Valley Christian of Osceola, replaces Prentice. Clear Lake hosts that sectional semifinal and Superior hosts the final. The girls half-bracket sees two changes as Glenwood City (4-18 last year) and Luck (10-13) replace Greenwood and Loyal. The Pirates’ Eastern Cloverbelt Conference rivals were shifted southwest to the La Crosse Central sectional. Colfax will host the sectional semifinal, while Chetek-Weyerhaeuser gets the final.
Rib Lake and Gilman are in full 32-team sectionals and 16-team half-brackets.
_ Not much changes for local wrestling squads. Medford remains in the Regis-Altoona Division 2 regional, which adds Bloomer-Colfax. Regis-Altoona, Abbotsford- Colby, the Neillsville Co-op, Spencer- Columbus and Stanley-Boyd/Owen-Withee remain in the regional final. Traditional sectional powers Ellsworth and Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau/Melrose-Mindoro will again face each other in the regional round at Arcadia.
Neillsville will serve as the individual sectional host on Feb. 20, which is good news for Medford fans, while Ellsworth hosts the team sectional on Feb. 16.
In Division 3, Cornell-Gilman welcomes Lake Holcombe back to its co-op program. The Wolfpack remains in a seven-team regional field that includes host Edgar, powerhouses Stratford and Cadott, Athens, Marathon and Thorp.
Clear Lake hosts the team sectional. A site for the individual sectional is yet to be determined.
_ There are no changes to either the boys or girls hockey sectionals, other than some co-op names.
For the first time, the boys team is now recognized as a Medford-Rib Lake co-op. In the second year of the WIAA’s two-division experiment, the Raiders return to an eight-team sectional that features defending champion Rice Lake, Superior, Hayward, the Amery Co-op, New Richmond, the Chequamegon Co-op and the Frederic Blizzard Co-op. New Richmond is slated to host the sectional final. The Medford-Rib Lake girls team’s sectional is unchanged with the D.C. Everest-based Central Wisconsin Storm pegged to host the championship game. Northland Pines has added girls from Hurley, Ironwood, Mich. and Wakefield-Marinesco, Mich. to form a new co-op. That leaves Hudson as the only standalone girls program in the entire state.
The six-school Storm; the two-time defending state champion Fox Cities Stars, who are represented by 16 schools; the Green Bay East-based Ice Bears with 11 schools represented; the Marshfieldbased Wisconsin Valley Union, which covers 10 schools, and the Rhinelanderbased Northern Edge, who bring in girls from five schools, round out the seventeam sectional.
_ The only change in the Division 2 boys swim sectional field is the subtraction of River Falls, who jumped up to Division 1. Medford, Antigo, Berlin-Green Lake, Lakeland, Menomonie, Rhinelander, Rice Lake, Shawano, Tomahawk and Wausau East fill out the field. The sectional site is to be determined.
_ The defending sectional champion Medford Co-op will see the same teams in its Division 2 gymnastics sectional meet in Antigo. They include the host Red Robins, the Ashland Co-op, Chequamegon, Lakeland, Mosinee, Rhinelander and Washburn.