2014-04-22 / Front Page

Five New Teams Join Expanded WIC To Begin Play In 2015-2016

OVHS, Edgewood And Cloverdale Are Among East Division Schools
by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

The five remaining West Central Conference (WCC) high schools have officially accepted invitations to join an expanded Western Indiana Conference (WIC) that divides teams into Eastern and Western divisions.

A Thursday (April 17) meeting of WIC member school principals resulted in Greencastle, Cascade, Cloverdale, North Putnam and South Putnam receiving unanimous approval as new members.

WIC President and Sullivan High School Principal David Springer said the building of schedules will begin immediately by WIC school athletic directors in hopes that conference play in many sports can begin under the new structure for the 2015-2016 school year.

The Eastern division will consist of Owen Valley, Cloverdale, Edgewood, Brown County, Cascade and North Putnam, while the Western division will be made up of Northview, South Vermillion, Sullivan, Greencastle, South Putnam and West Vigo.

“Over time, it is anticipated that the first place team in the East will play the first place team in the West. Second place in the East will play second place in the West and so on, down to the two sixth place teams playing. This is the plan for football,” Springer explained. “The other team sports will follow a similar format. Individual team sports such as wrestling, cross country, track, golf and swimming will have one-day conference tournaments.”

OVHS Principal Rhonda Schafer said the WIC expansion was largely fueled by the desire to cut traveling expenses and reduce late nights for student-athletes who still have to wake up early for school many mornings after competing.

“It’s going to reduce travel costs; the whole intent was trying to get our students home earlier on school nights, for a better educational setting,” she explained. “For Brown County and South Vermillion, it’s a huge burden to be in that situation. With Owen Valley being centrally located, it doesn’t affect us as much, but we needed to think of the other schools in our conference so that our conference could stay intact. If we were to lose Brown County or South Vermillion, that would weaken our conference and we wanted to keep the conferences strong. We knew finances are rough for all corporations, so that’s why we looked at the school nights, late nights and finances.”

With the new alignment not taking shape until the 2015-2016 season, the five remaining WCC schools (Cloverdale, North Putnam, South Putnam, Cascade and Greencastle) will continue league play for one last school year, with the exception of Monrovia.

Cloverdale High School Principal Sonny Stoltz was one of the first of the five new schools to receive the approval from his school board last Monday eve- ning.

“I think change is difficult for anyone; we’ll go into the new conference probably as the second smallest school geographically, we’re a lot like South Putnam,” Stoltz said. “It will really be interesting because we’re moving from an average 2A conference school size to an upper 2A or 3A, so there will be some challenges presented to us. The teams we will see on a nightly basis will probably make our strength of schedule grow, but there is something good about it. About 20 years ago, I was a student-athlete here and most of the schools we’re going to see now are who we used to play with when I was in school. The old WCC schools like Danville, Tri- West, Edgewood, they were there then, so it has kind of gone full circle. There are a lot of good things about moving into the WIC and overall (I think) it’s the best decision for our student-athletes and our community.”

Schafer said principals are currently working off of the WIC constitution and by-laws to add the five new schools, while athletic directors are busy scheduling a season ahead. Principals will meet again on June 11th to better determine conference tournament formats.

“We’re discussing different options right now but there will be some kind of tournament between East and West to decide placing. The individual sports will have a one-day conference event where all schools come together,” she added. “The key thing is that it’s the WIC, we’re all going to be one conference in 2015- 2016 and try to develop our plan in the meantime. It increases competition and having a conference tournament is exciting. We generally play most of the teams on this list, not in all sports but in most, but for some of the other schools that don’t it’s going to be a different opportunity for them.”

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