IHSAA meeting notes: Pioneer girls basketball to move to Sectional 37
Argos boys soccer joins Rochester, Valley in 2A sectional
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Rochester girls basketball team is a two-time defending sectional champion.
The Pioneer girls basketball team is a defending state champion.
Next February, no more than one of them can advance beyond the sectional.
The IHSAA made sure of that when they put Rochester and Pioneer in the same sectional after the Executive Committee came out with sectional assignments for the 2021-22 school year for six fall and winter sports at its May 3 meeting.
In other news from the meeting, the association put Argos in the same Class 2A boys soccer sectional with Rochester and Tippecanoe Valley and Caston in the same football sectional with Culver and Winamac.
Here is a look at all six sports affected:
Pioneer has never played beyond Class 1A in girls basketball, but after winning semistate in 2020 and winning state in 2021, they knew they were moving up to Class 2A for the next cycle.
They were placed in Class 2A, Sectional 37, which now becomes a seven-team grouping. Rochester, Carroll (Flora), Delphi, Lewis Cass, Manchester and Wabash are the other six teams.
Rochester has beaten Manchester in the sectional final each of the last two years.
Carroll is coming off an 18-5 season in which they averaged a state-best 67.5 points per game.
With Pioneer in Class 2A, that leaves only five teams in Class 1A, Sectional 52. One of those teams is Caston, who will be seeking its first sectional title since 1985. Frontier, North White, South Newton and Tri-County are the other four teams.
In other area girls basketball sectional news, Central Noble moves back down to Class 2A after a two-year stint in Class 3A related to the Success Factor.
That means that Tippecanoe Valley’s sectional is now a five-teamer. Lakeland, NorthWood, Wawasee and West Noble are the other four teams. That also means that Valley’s girls sectional mirrors its boys sectional.
Also, new IHSAA member Trinity Greenlawn will join Class 1A, Sectional 50. That is now a seven-team sectional with Argos, Culver, LaCrosse, Oregon-Davis, Triton and West Central.
Argos has won 10 straight sectional titles and was the 2020 state runner-up in Class 1A after winning the 1A state title in 2019.
However, now that they have been bumped up to Class 2A based on the IHSAA Success Factor, they are not the most historically decorated team in their sectional.
That would be Fort Wayne Canterbury, who was the Class 2A state runner-up last year and who has won 20 sectional titles and seven state titles.
The other five teams in the sectional are Rochester, Tippecanoe Valley, Manchester, Culver Academy and Fort Wayne Concordia.
Argos coach Todd VanDerWeele said it would be an “honor” of the Dragons got to play Fort Wayne Canterbury.
“Obviously it’s interesting because of the geographic range it covers,” Argos coach Todd VanDerWeele said. “It's a pretty broad area that it covers. It’s going to be a challenge, which we knew. We had talked as a staff before at the end of the season knowing that we were going to move up about what our options looked like. And it was either staying here with Canterbury and the Academy and Manchester and Concordia or going north with Bremen and Mishawaka Marian and (South Bend) St. Joe. So it was a double-edged sword however it ended up.
“It is what it is, and I guess we're going to be excited for it, but it’s definitely going to be a unique experience. But I’ll say this: A sectional that’s got Canterbury in it … Canterbury's kinda the gold standard for the northern half of the state, the success they’ve had in the last 30 years.”
Greg Mauch has been the Fort Wayne Canterbury coach since 1985, and his seven state titles – single-class titles in 1998, 1999 and 2002 and Class 1A titles in 2011, 2012, 2018 and 2019 – are the most in IHSAA history.
VanDerWeele, a 1991 Argos grad, remembers Mauch coaching when he was in high school. He said Mauch has helped mentor younger coaches.
“If you ever needed advice, you could call him and get advice from him, but he’s been around, and he’s been around for a reason,” VanDerWeele said. “He’s obviously had a good pool of talent, but he’s also a good coach.”
With Argos leaving, Class 1A, Sectional 36 will now feature just four teams: Caston, Culver, Winamac and North Miami.
The IHSAA placed Anderson Prep Academy, which will field its first varsity football squad this fall, in Class 1A, Sectional 44. That meant that a team had to leave to make room.
That team was Caston, who moves to Sectional 41. Sectional 41 had only seven teams last fall after Gary Roosevelt shut its doors, so it had room to add one.
Along with Culver and Winamac, Caston will be one of three RTC area teams in Sectional 41. The other five teams are North Judson, Lake Station, South Newton, South Central (Union Mills) and West Central.
Winamac is the defending sectional champion.
Caston has never won a football sectional title.
Volleyball, Boys basketball
The only area sectional affected in both sports was Class 1A, Sectional 50. Trinity Greenlawn, which gains full IHSAA membership for the 2021-22 school year, will share a sectional with Argos, Culver, LaCrosse, Oregon-Davis, Triton and West Central.
Triton won the sectional in volleyball, girls basketball and boys basketball in 2020-21.
All three area teams remain in Class 1A, Sectional 35. That includes defending regional champion Argos along with Rochester and Culver.
The IHSAA announced on April 2 that it was freezing its release of enrollment figures by a year.
“This year’s enrollment numbers showed significant fluctuation in the case of many schools likely affected by the pandemic and raising questions about their true representation,” the IHSAA said in a statement.
So the only schools affected were those moving up or down a class due to the Success Factor and new IHSAA members like Trinity Greenlawn and Anderson Prep Academy football.
And with the boys basketball tournament and spring sports being canceled in 2020, the Success Factor will not affect those sports.