Desktop Sportsman - 12/16/09This week's installment of Desktop Sportsman
By: Sean Scallon, Pierce County Herald
Once upon a time, Pepin High School had one of the best high school girls basketball programs in western Wisconsin. They went to the state tournament several times in a row and they won many Dunn-St. Croix Conference titles in the late 1970s and early 80s.
Today, they are joint venture with Alma, their independent identity due to lack of players in their programs of the past few seasons.
This new co-op team plays its games in the Dairyland Conference and with good reason. The Dairyland has Large and Small Divisions while the best teams in the Dunn-St. Croix are Division 3 and you have to play them twice.
That just leaves only two Division 4 teams left in the D-SC, Elmwood and Plum City. The D-SC got rid of the Large and Small divisions when it went back to a 10-team league in 2002 (although it still keeps them for baseball for some reason) and now can’t go to them even if it wanted to with Pepin’s disappearance.
Having to play the league’s top Division 3 teams like Colfax, Boyceville, Elk Mound and Mondovi twice a season has led to some pretty uncompetitive contests between the large and small schools in the D-SC. The twice-a season beatings administered to small school not just small in student body but small in body period compared to the larger schools, no doubt battered the Pepin program to such a point where few kids wished to compete against such long odds nor endure 86-34 defeats on cold winter nights miles from home. It’s done the same to the Elmwood program to where only 10 kids play entire program and seven of those are freshmen. Plum City, at least, had a good turnout of players and at least this uncompetitive situation hasn’t hit the boys’ side of the ledger (yet) with Elmwood winning the league title in 2007 and Spring Valley the season after.
That’s why Elmwood’s win over Division 3 Glenwood City last week was an important one for the program as whole. The Raiders may still get knocked around by Colfax or Elk Mound but if they can wins here and there in the conference this season, then head coach John Pollock can build a foundation around those young freshmen that can eventually produce a winning basketball program that will get the girls in schools out of the bleachers and the hallways and on the team. Otherwise EHS could very well meet the same fate as Pepin unless the competitive balance changes.
- Amery’s Kyle Paulson made second team All-WIAC as a quarterback for UW-Eau Claire. He was also the final WIAC Athlete of the Week on offense for this season.
- UW-Whitewater once again has made the finals of the NCAA Division III football championships. Yet the NCAA felt UWW was the only school from the WIAC worthy to make it in its Division III championship field despite UW-Stout’s 8-2 record and UW-Stevens Point’s 7-3 mark. It is obvious there is a bias against public schools at that level. Fine then. As soon as times get better and state is flush with money again, the WIAC should move to Division II and leave the private schools to Division III. Really, what is the difference between Winona State and UW-La Crosse other than one school can offer scholarships and the other cannot? What a help it would be for many state athletes if they could get scholarship opportunities the way Minnesota kids can by playing in the NSIC. There’s no reason why Wisconsin kids cannot do the same.
- New Richmond’s Ayla Mitchell received both the WIAC and regional Runner of the Year award for the past cross country season. Mitchell runs for UW-Oshkosh. And Baldwin-Woodville’s Kayla Wagner competed on a regional winning University of Minnesota squad.
- The DNR is everyone’s favorite whipping boy when it comes to wildlife management. After all they’re just bureacrats working in concrete and glass buildings in Madison, what can they possibly know about the outdoors, right? It’s not like they didn’t give the state’s hunters every opportunity to hunt deer each fall over the past 14 years starting in September and going into December? Right? It’s not like this year’s hunt historically is pretty large considering that back in 1971, with just over 500,000 hunters in the field a little over 72,844 deer were killed.
I don’t know about you but I don’t recall anywhere in the state’s Constitution where a hunter is guaranteed the right to see a deer.