The latest high school sports news broke on Friday when the WIAA unanimously passed an alternative fall option.
The plan — which passed 11-0 — allows schools to move their fall sports to the spring because of the ongoing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month the board voted to delay the start of fall sports by several weeks. Low-risk sports such as girls golf, girls swimming, girls tennis cross country were set to begin Monday and high-risk sports such as football and volleyball were slated for the week of Sept. 7.
The Badger Conference and the Rock Valley Conference announced previously to the WIAA’s Friday decision they would not be playing conference schedules or awarding championships this fall.
Fort Atkinson plays in the Badger, while Jefferson and Whitewater reside in the Rock Valley.
Even though the Badger Conference won’t have a sponsored season, the plan for Fort Atkinson is to move ahead with sports in the fall.
“Currently we are starting as planned with fall sports on their scheduled dates,” Fort Atkinson Athletic Director Steve Mahoney said. “We will continue to evaluate this status and if needed will use parts of the alternative schedule provided by the WIAA as a backup plan.”
Mahoney noted the situation is fluid, like it has been for the past months.
Whenever the county’s positive COVID-19 rate hits 8 percent schools will be closed and sports will be suspended. Currently Jefferson County is at 6.5 to 7 percent.
The Fort Atkinson Athletic Department Twitter account tweeted on Monday: “Sports are back. Good luck to cross country, girls golf, girls tennis and girls swimming today at their first practices.”
Over in the Rock Valley, the Eagles will be moving all fall sports to a truncated spring season. Jefferson AD Steve Gee will be meeting with Rock Valley Conference athletic directors this week to create new schedules, according to Gee.
“Jefferson High School will look to offer after school sports and fitness opportunities for our students this fall,” Gee said. “We will not be competing with other schools this fall in any sport.”
Jefferson’s Rock Valley Conference member Whitewater also will not be holding sports this fall. The Whippets will be moving fall sports to the new spring season, according to Athletic Director Justin Crandall.
“The decision was made by the RVC superintendents and all RVC schools will be following the same plan,” Crandall said.
Crandall did note that the only chance for a Whitewater fall sport would be in girls swimming, since the Whippets compete in the Southern Lakes Conference.
“As a district we believe moving the fall season back will allow for all sports seasons to have some type of competition and give our students an opportunity in all the sports they want to participate in while doing it in a safe environment,” Crandall said.
Trailways Conference, Cambridge
On Friday, the Trailways Conference — which includes Palmyra-Eagle and Johnson Creek — announced it was planning for a fall sports season on Twitter.
“We will have fall conference seasons in volleyball and football,” the tweet states. “We will crown conference champions and have all-conference teams.”
Johnson Creek plays in the Trailways in football, while Palmyra-Eagle was moved out of the conference into the Eastern Suburban after the conference realignment. Cambridge — the winner of three-straight Capitol South Conference football titles — was moved into the Eastern Suburban will the Panthers. Cambridge also is slated to start cross country on Monday, according to assistant coach Sean Currie.
According to Palmyra-Eagle Athletic Director Joel Tortomasi, the Panthers will begin football Sept. 25 versus Waterloo. Cross country practices for Palmyra-Eagle started Monday, while football and volleyball starts practices on Sept. 7. The Panthers are scheduled to open up conference play in volleyball against Johnson Creek on Sept 21.
Lake Mills, along with Lakeside Lutheran are set for fall sports. Even before the WIAA’s Friday decision, Lake Mills Athletic Director Stephen Considine was planning for fall sports, according to an article by the Lake Mills Leader.
“Our conference states that as long as four teams in the conference are able to compete a conference champion can be had,” Considine said in the article. “In most sports the consensus is there will be at least four teams that will be playing.”
Both Lake Mills and Lakeside Lutheran had practices scheduled for Monday.
Sports are back.
At least in some places.