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GNC sets hopeful plans to crown fall champions

GNC sets hopeful plans to crown fall champions GNC sets hopeful plans to crown fall champions


Barring any major shifts from the WIAA’s Board of Control at its next meeting Friday, Aug. 14, the Great Northern Conference has put into motion its tentative plans for scheduling league sports for the fall season.

As of this week, first practices for the sports of girls tennis, girls swimming and cross country have been set for Monday, Aug. 17 by the WIAA, while first practices for football, boys soccer and volleyball are set for Labor Day, Sept. 7.

Guidelines for fall sports and spring options for Wisconsin schools wishing to postpone fall sports are expected to be key issues discussed by WIAA officials on Friday.

As they pertain to regular-season varsity schedules, here are the current plans for each GNC fall sport. No changes have been announced yet for WIAA post-season tournaments, but modifications should be expected in most, if not all, fall sports.

_ Girls tennis will be the first sport to hit the competition phase with league duals set to start on Aug. 25. The only change to the dual schedule is that meets first set for Aug. 20 were moved to Sept. 24. If all goes as planned, the seven duals will determine conference standings. The GNC tournament at Antigo is canceled. Individual awards will be determined at a later meeting.

The Medford Raiders are scheduled to start Aug. 25 at Lakeland before hosting Rhinelander Aug. 27.

_ Girls swimming will also go to a dual-meet-only format to determine its team placements. The Oct. 30 conference meet at Rhinelander has been dropped. Individual awards will be determined at a later meeting. The GNC duals remain as originally scheduled with Medford’s opening meet set for Sept. 3 at home against Mosinee.

_ The plan for football is to play at least six of the originally-scheduled seven GNC games. The seventh game is contingent upon how the WIAA structures the post-season. The first two weeks of nonconference games are canceled. First games will be Sept. 25, including Medford’s home matchup with the GNC’s newest football team, the Hayward Hurricanes. From Sept. 25 through Oct. 16, games remain as scheduled. Games that were scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 4 have been moved to the weekend of Oct. 23 and games from Sept. 11 are now planned for Oct. 30. Games from the weekend of Sept. 18 are tentatively set for Nov. 6, unless that becomes a playoff night.

The Lakeland Conference, which includes Rib Lake-Prentice, has reshuffled its football schedule in the same manner.

_ The GNC’s volleyball plan changes quite a bit. Instead of the double round-robin of past years that included two Saturday multi-team meets, teams will face each other in a single round-robin format through Oct. 6. After those six dual matches, teams will be divided into upper (first through fourth) and lower (fifth through seventh) tiers. Each team will play a second dual –– at the opposite site of the first dual –– against the other GNC fall plans

two or three teams in its assigned tier. These duals will be played Oct. 8, 13 and 15. GNC matches scheduled for Sept. 3 were moved to Sept. 24 and matches set for Sept. 8 were moved to Sept. 17.

As of Wednesday, Medford starts competition Sept. 15 with a non-conference match at Eau Claire Memorial. Northland Pines visits Raider Hall to open GNC play on Sept. 17.

_ In boys soccer, the GNC is planning to play a full schedule of 10 games in a double round-robin format, though three game dates had to be moved. League play will start Sept. 15, including a big early-season matchup between last year’s co-champions, Medford and Northland Pines, at Raider Field.

Original Sept. 1 matchups were moved to Sept. 22, Sept. 3 dates are now planned for Sept. 29 and Sept. 10 games are now set for Oct. 13.

_ The GNC’s cross country championship meet is still planned for Oct. 17 at Edgewater Golf Course in Tomahawk. As of Wednesday, Medford’s opening meet is the Sept. 1 Mosinee Invitational at Nine-Mile Recreation Area, though activities director Andy Guden said cross country’s regular-season schedule is the most fluid as schools decide whether to travel to or host meets.

Details regarding COVID protocols and restrictions at sports events will be announced at a later date.

A convenient way to stay up to date on schedule changes as this unusual fall season progresses is to follow your local schools’ conference websites –– greatnorthernconference. org, and –– where individual school and overall conference schedules can be viewed and you can sign up to be notified of changes at your school of interest or in a particular sport.