Badger Conference to be realigned

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Ebba Harrison, Sports Editor

In many sports offered at the Waunakee Community High School, Waunakee is in the Badger North Conference. Each season, the Warriors always face fellow Badger North opponents in games or matches. Waunakee rival, DeForest, is in the Badger North along with Baraboo, Mt. Horeb, Portage, Reedsburg, and Sauk Prairie. Beaver Dam, a recent addition to the conference, rounds out the Badger North.

The Badger South Conference includes: Fort Atkinson, Edgewood, Milton, Monona Grove, Monroe, Oregon, Stoughton, and Watertown.

However, the traditional Badger Conferences, North and South, will soon experience a change. In the 2021-22 school year, the conferences will be realigned.

“When Beaver Dam and Watertown came in, the principals made the decision to add Beaver Dam to the North and Watertown to the South. In two years, we would reevaluate and make a decision about how we are broken up in our divisions,” said Waunakee Athletic Director Aaron May. “Those two years came up, and a committee of principals and ADs were put together. Their proposal was to go from North/South divisions to East/West based on your relationship to Madison. It would closer align schools in terms of enrollment, and it would cut down on the average number of miles you would have to travel for a game or a competition. In spring sports, you wouldn’t have to leave as early, so there would be less missed school time.”

Waunakee will be a part of the new Badger East along with Beaver Dam, DeForest, Fort Atkinson, Milton, Monona Grove, Stoughton, and Watertown. Its counterpart, the Badger West, includes: Baraboo, Edgewood, Monroe, Mt. Horeb, Oregon, Portage, Reedsburg, and Sauk Prairie.

This realignment applies to golf, soccer, tennis, basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball, and track and field. Sports, such as hockey, swim, and gymnastics, will be in conferences with different teams. Waunakee hockey will be in the Badger East with Beaver Dam, DeForest, McFarland, Milton, Monona Grove, and Stoughton.

Boys and girls swim will be in conferences with different sets of teams. Waunakee boys swim will race against DeForest, Fort Atkinson, Milton, Monona Grove, Stoughton, and Watertown in the Badger East. Waunakee girls swim will compete against the same teams, with the addition of Beaver Dam to their conference.

Unlike other sports, the Badger Conference is not split for gymnastics. Baraboo, Milton, Monona Grove, Mt. Horeb, Sauk Prairie, Watertown, and Waunakee make up the gymnastics Badger Conference.

“Really, it was about aligning schools in terms of enrollment, and, if possible, cutting down on the amount of travel that you would have to do,” said May.