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  • Val T.

Rochester sectional alignment: Zebras in grid sectional with 4 CIC teams

Basketball sectional to include TRC rivals Lewis Cass, Manchester, Wabash


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Rochester will be in a football sectional with seven new schools for the new cycle covering the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years, according to the new sectional realignments released Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Rochester will be in a Class 2A volleyball sectional with reigning 1A state champion Southwood and in basketball sectionals with three other Three Rivers Conference rivals.

Football

Rochester will be both the northernmost and westernmost team in Class 2A, Sectional 36. The other seven teams are Alexandria, Blackford, Eastbrook, Eastern (Greentown), Elwood, Tipton and Wabash.

The Zebras, who went 7-3 last season, are one of four teams that had winning records last season. Alexandria (8-2), Eastbrook (7-4) and Eastern (Greentown) (9-3) are the other three.

Wabash is the only other TRC team, but the sectional includes four Central Indiana Conference schools in Alexandria, Blackford, Eastbrook and Elwood.

Rochester has not played any team in their new sectional since a 48-20 loss to Eastbrook in the 2018 sectional semifinals. Eastbrook and Wabash are the only schools in their new sectional that they have played in the last 25 years.

Volleyball

Southwood moved up from Class 1A to Class 2A due to the IHSAA Success Factor after capturing a regional title in the fall of 2022 and the state title last fall.

They will join Rochester, Eastern (Greentown), Lewis Cass, Manchester, Oak Hill and Wabash.

Rochester lost only one senior, Keyton Doran, to graduation as coach Laneia Strasser begins her second season.

Girls basketball, boys basketball

In boys basketball, Rochester’s six-team grouping in Class 2A, Sectional 36 includes Lewis Cass and Wabash, who played each other in the sectional final in Rochester’s sectional each of the last two years.

The other three teams are Eastern (Greentown), Manchester and Oak Hill. Manchester has not won a boys basketball sectional since 1995 but could be the favorite with the return of 6-5 big man Gavin Betten, who already has over 1,400 career points through his junior season, and quick point guard Ethan Hendrix.

Rochester is expected to return all five starters from the team that lost to Wabash in the sectional quarterfinals. Wabash, the defending regional champion, will graduate all five starters.

Oak Hill won the state championship in 2018 but has not won a sectional since. Moving down from Class 3A, they will be in a Class 2A sectional for the first time since 2019. They are a traditional preseason scrimmage opponent for the Zebras.

Rochester is expected to return all seven players from last year’s girls basketball team.

The sectional features defending regional champion Lewis Cass, who broke a 19-year sectional drought and ended a streak of 21 consecutive losing seasons.

Oak Hill won the Class 2A state title since 2019, but they have had only one winning season and no sectional titles since.

Rochester beat Wabash and Manchester during their run to their most recent sectional title in 2021. Point guard Brookelynn Buzzard, who scored 23 points against Rochester in January when she played for Manchester, has already announced that she will transfer to Wabash for her senior season in 2024-25.

Girls soccer

Rochester is in Class 1A, Sectional 36 with Argos, Culver, LaVille, Manchester and Oregon-Davis.

There are no reigning sectional champions in this field, though Argos has won 13 sectional titles all-time.

Boys soccer

Rochester is no longer in a Class 2A sectional with any Fort Wayne-based schools or Culver Academy, but they remain in a sectional with local rival Tippecanoe Valley, traditional conference rivals Maconaquah, Peru and Wabash and new conference rival Northwestern.

The seventh team in the sectional is Eastern (Greentown).

Rochester has won two sectional titles in its history, but they have never won a Class 2A sectional.

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

Class 1A, Sectional 36 (girls soccer)

Argos, Culver, LaVille, Manchester, Oregon-Davis, ROCHESTER

Class 2A, Sectional 22 (boys soccer)

Eastern (Greentown), Maconaquah, Northwestern, Peru, ROCHESTER, Tippecanoe Valley, Wabash

Class 2A, Sectional 38 (volleyball)

Eastern (Greentown), Lewis Cass, Manchester, Oak Hill, ROCHESTER, Southwood, Wabash

Class 2A, Sectional 36 (football)

Alexandria, Blackford, Eastbrook, Eastern (Greentown), Elwood, ROCHESTER, Tipton, Wabash

Class 2A, Sectional 38 (girls basketball and boys basketball)

Eastern (Greentown), Lewis Cass, Manchester, Oak Hill, ROCHESTER, Wabash



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