Rochester sectional realignment: Girls basketball in 3A sectional with Valley
Football, boys basketball, volleyball in sectionals with Pioneer, Winamac, Lewis Cass
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Rochester High School might be considered a school of sporting dichotomies.
They are in Class 3A for girls basketball and Class 2A for boys basketball. They are in Class 1A for girls soccer and Class 2A for boys soccer.
In volleyball, Rochester remains in Class 2A, but none of the teams in their new sectional were in their previous sectional.
In football, the team that knocked the Zebras out of the sectional last year isn’t in their sectional anymore.
Here is how sectionals will look for all of Rochester’s fall and winter teams covering the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years:
The last time Rochester was in Class 3A, the Lady Zs reached the semistate in 2015 before falling to Tippecanoe Valley. If they face Valley in the state tournament this time, it would happen a lot sooner.
That’s because Rochester and Valley will both be in Class 3A, Sectional 18. The other four teams are Bremen, Culver Academy, John Glenn and Knox.
Valley has had nine straight winning seasons and is the defending Three Rivers Conference champion.
Culver Academy won a sectional title in February, but top scorer Taylor Bowen, a Lipscomb University recruit, graduates.
Bremen, like Rochester, also moves up to Class 3A based on increased enrollment and has had five winning seasons in the last six years.
Knox has had five consecutive winning seasons and has also won three sectional titles during that span.
John Glenn has had nine winning seasons in the last 10 years.
As for the Lady Zs, new coach Joel Burrus inherits a program that has had 10 winning seasons in the last 12 years.
The Rochester boys are in Class 2A, Sectional 36, which does not have a defending sectional champion.
Rochester is one of three TRC teams in the sectional along with North Miami and Wabash.
Lewis Cass, Pioneer and Winamac are the other three teams.
Rochester has beaten North Miami five straight times, Winamac four straight times and Wabash two straight times.
Lewis Cass and Winamac return from Rochester’s previous sectional. The Zebras beat Lewis Cass in the 2021 sectional final, but the Kings routed Rochester 74-40 in the 2022 sectional quarterfinals.
Pioneer and North Miami both move up from Class 1A based on increased enrollment.
The sectional champion would figure to feed into the North Judson regional. Rochester traveled to Lapel for the regional in 2021.
Like boys basketball, Rochester will share a volleyball sectional with North Miami, Wabash, Lewis Cass, Pioneer and Winamac.
Pioneer moves up to Class 2A due to increased enrollment after Southwood snapped their streak of 15 consecutive Class 1A sectional titles last fall. That run included a Class 1A state title in 2020.
Wabash is coming off a 21-win season that included an 8-1 record in the TRC. Wabash has experienced recent success, winning the first two sectional titles in school history in 2018 and 2019.
Rochester has won 22 sectionals all time, most of any team in the sectional. They also beat Lewis Cass, North Miami and Winamac last year.
Rochester stays in Class 2A, Sectional 34, but four of the teams are new: Benton Central, Lafayette Central Catholic, Seeger and Winamac.
Delphi, Lewis Cass and Pioneer also return to Sectional 34.
Lafayette Central Catholic has won three consecutive sectional titles. They won the Class 1A state title in 2019 and a regional title in 2020, which bumped them up to Class 2A based on the Success Factor. They won a Class 2A sectional title in 2021, thereby earning enough Success Factor points to stay in Class 2A even though they have the enrollment of a Class 1A school.
Pioneer also stays in Class 2A based on the Success Factor.
Winamac, meanwhile, comes off an undefeated regular season in 2021 after winning a sectional title in 2020.
Rochester last won a sectional title in 2000, but they have not made a sectional final since.
LaVille, who beat Rochester in the sectional quarterfinals last year and then went on to win the sectional, was moved to Sectional 33 along with Bremen. Manchester and Wabash are now in Sectional 35.
Rochester was again placed in Class 1A, Sectional 35, a sectional that will have two defending champions next year.
Argos won its fourth straight sectional last fall, and Trinity Greenlawn is also part of the six-team group after winning the Sectional 34 title in its first ever IHSAA state tournament. Trinity Greenlawn just gained full IHSAA membership this school year.
The other three teams in the sectional are Bremen, Culver and LaVille.
Trinity Greenlawn replaces North Miami, who was moved to Sectional 39.
Rochester is the reigning TRC champion but has never won a sectional title.
Rochester will return to Class 2A, Sectional 22 for coach Elmer Roque’s second season, but Fort Wayne Canterbury, the team that won the sectional, was shuffled off to Sectional 23.
The other six teams in the sectional are Culver Academy, Fort Wayne Dwenger, Fort Wayne Concordia, Manchester, Tippecanoe Valley and Wabash.
Fort Wayne Dwenger is a reigning regional champion who was ranked No. 9 in last year’s final poll. Fort Wayne Concordia was ranked No. 4, and Culver Academy was ranked No. 11 in last year’s final polls.
Manchester and Wabash tied for the TRC title last year. Valley coach Trevor Brown was the Rochester coach from 2006-20.