CWC undergoes major realignment

3 7-team divisions set for some sports
By: 

Chris Caporale, sports@wolfrivermedia.com

The addition of three schools to the Central Wisconsin Conference prompted a major realignment, effective this fall, for a majority of sports.

Pittsville, Wisconsin Valley Lutheran (Mosinee) and Northland Lutheran (Kronewetter) bring the number of schools in the CWC this year to 21. For most sports, the conference will be split into three divisions: North, South and East. For football, there will be Large and Small divisions.

For volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball, Gresham, Bowler, Marion, Tigerton, Manawa, Northland Lutheran and Wisconsin Valley Lutheran will be in the CWC-North.

Pacelli, Port Edwards, Almond-Bancroft, Wild Rose, Pittsville, Rosholt and Tri-County will compete in the CWC-South.

Menominee Indian has moved from the CWC-10 to join most of the former CWC-8 members in the CWC-East: Bonduel, Wittenberg-Birnamwood, Amherst, Weyauwega-Fremont, Iola-Scandinavia and Shiocton.

The move from a 10-team conference to smaller divisions allows for more variation in nonconference scheduling.

“I’ve always been a proponent of that, even before we added the three schools,” Gresham Athletic Director Jeff Zobeck said of the smaller divisions.

Basketball teams will play 12 conference games, compared to 18 previously. Baseball and softball will play 10 conference games because Northland Lutheran and Wisconsin Valley Lutheran field co-op teams.

As the head basketball coach, Zobeck isn’t sure how the realignment might prepare his team for the playoffs, even if he can now schedule 10 nonconference games.

“I would have liked to seen a different mix of schools,” Zobeck said. “Traditionally, some of the southern schools have been quite a bit better.”

Menominee Indian, the fifth-largest school in the conference at 265 students, will compete against larger schools than in the CWC-10, but Athletic Director Chuck Raasch doesn’t believe it will change how the teams prepare.

“Our coaches are preparing as they always have, getting our teams and players as ready as possible regardless of who the competition is,” Raasch said. “Come the end of the year, we will better be able to answer the question of how our CWC-10 conference compares to our new conference.”

Menominee Indian will still face many of the CWC-10 foes in nonconference games.

“We have been able to fill our schedules and keep many of our former competitors on our schedule,” Raasch said.

In football, the conference is divided into two divisions. The CWC-Large remains the same as the previous CWC-8: Bonduel, Wittenberg-Birnamwood, Pacelli, Shiocton, Iola-Scandinavia, Amherst, Manawa and Weyauwega-Fremont.

CWC-Small members are Marion/Tigerton, Almond-Bancroft, Pittsville, Port Edwards, Rosholt, Tri-County and Wild Rose.

Menominee Indian and Bowler/Gresham play in the MONLPC-8 eight-man conference in football.

Track will remain largely the same, but Menominee Indian and Rosholt will join the CWC-Large, while Pittsville, Wisconsin Valley Lutheran and Northland Lutheran will compete in the CWC-Small.

Boys golf, cross-country and wrestling will remain one conference.

The additions also allowed the CWC to create an eight-team soccer conference: Gresham/Bowler, Columbus Catholic, Newman Catholic, Northland Lutheran, Pacelli, Wisconsin Valley Lutheran, Tri-County and Amherst/Rosholt/Iola-Scandinavia.