What's next for DuPage Valley Conference?
There was more news this week, but it didn't just involve basketball. It involved all sports.
Specifically, it involved conference sports.
It looks like another school will make a conference change, while one local conference continues to look for schools to join it. Eyes on Five breaks it down.
When Glenbard North, Lake Park, Wheaton North and Wheaton Warrenville South announced in November they'd be leaving the DuPage Valley Conference for the newly formed DuKane Conference, the remaining five members of the DVC were left in a tough spot.
The rest of the DVC -- Metea Valley, Naperville Central, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley -- moved on to Plan B with hopes of avoiding Plan C and D.
They attempted to return to a league of eight schools by inviting Bolingbrook, Oswego and Oswego East to join. Unfortunately, the trio recently declined the invitation, according to Metea Valley principal Darrell Echols, the president of the DVC.
So now what?
It's a question with few if any answers. Beyond those three schools, there's really no one else to realistically look at to join.
A league of five is a disaster for athletic scheduling. That's especially true for football, where every team would have to play each other twice in a season. One team would have a bye in Weeks 2-9 and have to find a nonconference game.
Less than ideal.
But wait ... maybe there is hope for the remaining five DVC members.
There's been no comment from the hierarchy of the league, but it's possible that instead of looking for schools to join the DVC, the DVC may be looking to join another conference.
A match might exist with the Southwest Suburban Conference -- a 13-school league with its own level of dysfunctional scheduling. It used to be a 16-team conference until Lincoln-Way North closed and Joliet Central and Joliet West left for the Southwest Prairie Conference.
If the five DVC schools merged with the Southwest Suburban, you'd have an 18-school conference split into three divisions of six. In football terms that'd mean five conference games, two crossover games with other divisions and two nonconference games at the start of the season.
Breaking it down in DVC terms, it'd mean a six-team division featuring the two Napervilles, the three Valleys and ... Bolingbrook, the school that was the top target for joining the DVC.
How realistic is a merger? Hard to say with 18 players involved. Even if it did happen, it's difficult to say how long it'd last because of the challenge of maintaining 18 moving parts.
The bottom line, though, is that another dysfunctional entity may be only chance to solve the DVC's dysfunction.
Like we say here often, stay tuned.
Going, going ...:
Glenbard South's move to the Upstate Eight Conference for the 2018-19 school year seems like it probably will happen. It just makes too much sense, both for the Raiders and the nine remaining UEC schools.
Glenbard South -- enrollment: 1,201 -- is much smaller than the UEC schools, which average 2,631 students. But the Raiders will be very competitive in most sports in the UEC, just as they have been the past few years in the Metro Suburban Conference, whose schools average 666 students.
Though many conference changes revolve around football, this one will be about other sports, Raiders athletic director Tim Carlson said at a community forum at the school Wednesday night to discuss the move. The Raiders have qualified for the football playoffs in 10 of the last 11 years and for six straight seasons, and they've shared or won outright MSC titles in four of six seasons.
More Glenbard South sports will be involved in conference competition and at more levels in the UEC. The same goes for activities such as bass fishing, forensics, math team and Scholastic Bowl.
Hopefully, this move will be bring some stability to the Upstate Eight and the Raiders. The UEC is losing Geneva, Batavia, St. Charles East and St. Charles North to form the DuKane Conference. This will be the sixth conference in Glenbard South's 45-year history; it joined the MSC for the 2010-11 school year, 2011 for football.
The next step is for Glenbard South officials to present the idea to the District 87 school board Monday, with a vote expected at the Feb. 21 board meeting.
And with that, we'll await a likely corresponding move by the MSC that could feature expansion.
Ready for the playoffs?
It's time. No more looking down the road, no more thinking ahead.
The girls Class 1A and Class 2A playoffs get real next week with Lisle hosting a regional that includes Westmont and Timothy Christian.
"I don't care who the better team is, you know how it is (if) you get a rivalry game going," Lisle coach Nick Balaban said of a possible semifinal matchup Tuesday against Westmont, an Interstate Eight Conference foe.
Timothy Christian could be waiting in the regional final.
"We've just got to beat Westmont," Balaban said. "I can't look ahead to Timothy Christian or Richards, we've just got to beat Westmont."
Meanwhile, the Class 3A and Class 4A girls seeds were released Thursday, and local teams fared very well as expected.
Two-time defending state champion Benet earned the top seed and will host a regional in East Aurora's Class 4A sectional, where Naperville Central is No. 5.
Montini, the state's No. 1-ranked team, is the No. 1 seed at Argo, and Hinsdale Central, a regional host, is No. 4. Wheaton North is No. 2 at Glenbard West, and Wheaton Warrenville South is No. 5.
In Class 3A Glenbard South is No. 3 at its own sectional behind powerful Chicago teams Marshall and North Lawndale. IC Catholic, which will host a regional, is No. 9.
St. Francis, which enjoyed a nice postseason run last year, is the third seed at one of the Kaneland subsectionals. Wheaton Academy is No. 8 and will host a regional.
The big-school pairings will be released at ihsa.org Friday afternoon. Those regionals start Feb. 13.
It's been a notable few days for Wheaton Warrenville South basketball coaches.
First, girls coach Rob Kroehnke picked up his 300th victory Saturday at Waubonsie Valley.
Then boys coach Mike Healy notched No. 200 Tuesday against Glenbard North.
Both milestones come toward the end of strong seasons for both teams. The girls are 16-8, while the boys are an amazing 22-1. And yes, both teams boast strong schedules.
Congratulations to both coaches.
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