Winamac sectional realignment: Joining Lewis Cass, Pioneer for volleyball, basketball
New 2A football sectional to include Rochester, Lewis Cass, LCC
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Winamac is in the Eastern time zone but for a generation of class sports have often shared team class sectionals with schools from the Central time zone.
However, in the new sectional realignments released by the IHSAA Tuesday, Winamac sports fans might not have to wind their watches so much.
That’s because all of Winamac’s new sectional rivals will be entirely within the Eastern time zone.
Here is how sectionals will look for all of Winamac’s fall and winter teams covering the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years:
The only sport in which Winamac is changing classes is football. New coach Josh Burgess’ Warriors are moving up to Class 2A based on increased enrollment, and they were placed in Sectional 34.
Sectional 34 is a seven-team field, which means that one of the teams will receive a bye when sectionals begin on Oct. 21.
The other six teams in Winamac’s sectional are Benton Central, Delphi, Lafayette Central Catholic, Lewis Cass, Rochester and Seeger.
Winamac is not scheduled to play any of these teams during the regular season, though they are scheduled to travel to Rochester for a scrimmage on Aug. 13.
Lewis Cass defeated Winamac 37-32 in the 2020 regional in their most recent meeting.
Winamac last competed in the 2A state tournament in 2016 in Tim Roth’s final season as coach. Winamac went 8-5 and won the sectional before falling to Whiting in the regional.
Winamac has won seven sectionals in their history – five in Class 1A and two in Class 2A. The Warriors also won Class 2A sectional and regional titles in 2000.
Winamac was placed in Class 2A, Sectional 36 and will be joined by Lewis Cass, North Miami, Pioneer, Rochester and Wabash in a six-team field.
Pioneer and North Miami both move up based on increased enrollment.
Pioneer won a state title in Class 1A as recently as 2020, and they have won 15 sectionals in the last 16 years.
Rochester has won a sectional as recently as 2020, and Wabash has won a sectional as recently as 2019.
Winamac is in search of their first sectional title since 2014.
Tony Stesiak’s first Lady Warrior squad was placed in Class 2A, Sectional 36, a five-team grouping that also includes Lewis Cass, North Miami, Pioneer and Wabash.
None of these teams were in Winamac’s previous Class 2A sectional.
North Miami and Pioneer both move up from Class 1A due to increased enrollment. North Miami won their first sectional title in 14 years in February before their season ended with a loss to Lafayette Central Catholic in the regional final.
Pioneer, who won the Class 1A state title in 2021, sports Ball State recruit and state leading scorer Ashlynn Brooke.
If Winamac matches up with Lewis Cass, it will again match up Stesiak with Lewis Cass coach Kyle Amor.
Stesiak’s Rochester team beat an Amor-coached John Glenn team 59-57 on Feb, 11, 2014, in a Class 3A sectional quarterfinal game at John Glenn. Becky (Malchow) Lee, now the Rochester softball coach, had the game-winning basket.
Winamac has not won a girls basketball sectional title since 2014.
The Winamac boys are in Class 2A, Sectional 36, which does not have a defending sectional champion.
The sectional consists of two Hoosier North teams (Winamac and Pioneer), three Three Rivers Conference teams (Rochester, North Miami and Wabash) and Lewis Cass.
Winamac has lost their last four meetings against Rochester, their last three meetings against Pioneer and their last two meetings with Lewis Cass.
Winamac has not played Wabash or North Miami since beating both en route to the 2002 sectional title.
Lewis Cass and Rochester return from Winamac’s previous sectional.
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. Previously, Winamac had been in Sectional 37, which fed into the Lapel regional.
Winamac’s coaching position is currently vacant.
Winamac’s coed soccer team, which competes in the boys state tournament for coach Chad Burton, was placed in Class 1A, Sectional 37.
The other six teams in the field are Argos, Caston, Culver, North Miami, North White and Whitko.
Argos moves down from Class 2A after they had been promoted due to the IHSAA Success Factor. Prior to the move to 2A, Argos had won 10 straight 1A sectionals from 2011-20, and they won the 1A state title in 2019. Caston won their first sectional title in school history last year.
North White was ranked No. 7 in last year’s final Class 1A coaches poll, and they have won a sectional as recently as 2019.
Whitko did not field a team last year.
Winamac’s lone sectional title in soccer came in 2001.