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  • Val T.

Pioneer sectional alignment: Volleyball in 1A sectional with Caston, Tri-County

Football grouped with 3-time defending sectional champ Carroll (Flora)


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

After a two-year stay in Class 2A, Pioneer is back down in Class 1A for volleyball, girls basketball and boys basketball.

So while the new sectional alignment for those sports might intrigue the Panther community, especially those who remember Pioneer in the old Midwest Conference, Pioneer got an additional surprise when they were moved to a different Class 1A football sectional as well when the IHSAA released the alignments Tuesday.

Volleyball, girls basketball, boys basketball

Pioneer is in Class 1A, Sectional 50 for these three sports, which will also include Caston, DeMotte Christian, North Newton, North White, South Newton, Tri-County and West Central.

Pioneer made the semistate in Class 2A last year in volleyball, and their new sectional will include Tri-County, who also won their 1A sectional last year, and South Newton, who won four straight sectionals from 2019-22.

In girls basketball, rival Caston won its first regional title in school history last year but graduates four starters. North White won a regional as recently as 2022, and Tri-County won a sectional as recently as 2023.

Tri-County has won two straight boys basketball sectionals, and DeMotte Christian is also a reigning sectional champion.

Pioneer lost in the sectional final to North White the last time it played in the 1A tournament in 2022.

Football

The IHSAA moved Pioneer from Sectional 41 to Sectional 42, which means it is no longer in a sectional with North Judson, Triton or LaVille, the teams that have knocked them out of the sectional for the last three years.

However, Pioneer is in a sectional with three-time defending sectional champion Carroll (Flora), who has gone 32-7 over the last three years but who lost to Pioneer 74-0 in the 2018 sectional semifinals in their most recent meeting.

The other teams in Sectional 42 include Caston, Frontier, North White, Taylor, Tri-County and Winamac. The last time Pioneer lost to any of the other seven other teams in the sectional in a sectional game was in 2007, when they lost to Tri-County 23-21 in the sectional semifinals.

Pioneer sectional lineup (2024-25 and 2025-26)

Class 1A, Sectional 50 (volleyball, girls basketball, boys basketball)

Caston, DeMotte Christian, North Newton, North White, PIONEER, South Newton, Tri-County, West Central

Class 1A, Sectional 42 (football)

Carroll (Flora), Caston, Frontier, North White, PIONEER, Taylor, Tri-County, Winamac


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