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Prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner chats at 12:30 p.m. Thursdays. Nothing's off limits - recruiting, area football rankings, the upcoming golf state championships. Submit questions in advance.
And away we go with another week of high-school related sports questions. Let's get started!
Hi Fred- i cannot figure the IHSA out when it comes to 2A volleyball Regional pairings. why would you put 4 very strong teams-- STM,SJO,PBL, and Unity in the same regional and then have all the marginal teams in the Bismark Regional? Only 1 time in the last 4 years has SJO,and STM not been in the same Regional and that year they met in the sectional semis. i'd love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks- you do a great job, Kurt
Hi Kurt. This is certainly a great question, and one which I can explain. There are two ways -- and only two ways -- that the IHSA will assigned teams for postseason play. One, as you correctly pointed out, is strictly geographical. So, you wind up with SJ-O, St. Thomas More, Unity and Paxton-Buckley-Loda in the same regional at Gibson Cityl. Meanwhile, you have Vermilion County's Class 2A teams assigned to the same regiona at Bismarck-Henning. Looking at the other sites in that sectional complex, you have Decatur area teams assigned to either Maroa-Forsyth or Meridian. The other way to assign teams is to take those same 22 schools that are part of the Argenta-Oreana Sectional complex and seed them from 1-22. Granted that would be a tough task for the coaches because Decatur-area schools won't know a lot about Hoopeston Area, for example, and vice versa (but it could be done!). The advantage you get is that the top four seeded teams are guaranteed of being at different regional sites. When you do the seeding this way, however, you are locked in as far as the assignments. In other words, the Nos. 1 and 8 seeds are going to be at the same site. This could mean, for instance, Hoopeston Area traveling all the way to Meridian for a first-round regional match or for Heyworth traveling to Bismarck-Henning for its regional assignment. Since prinicpals are the ones with power in the IHSA system, you won't see this happening. The travel factor is not only a cost issue, but a time factor. The teams playing in the second regional semifinal might not start their match until almost 8 p.m. (at least 7:30) and if it's a three-set slugfest, it could be close to 9:30 p.m. before a departure could be possible. You'll have the busses pulling back into their schools at 11 p.m. That is far from ideal.On the other hand, there is no guarantee you'd have those situations -- or many of them -- but the possibility of them is why you won't see downstate schools seeded into a sectional bracket. If you check the IHSA website, you will see this kind of bracketing is commonplace in Class 4A and 3A, where the travel is much, much, much less. So, you now wind up with inequitable regionals were you have -- possibily -- four 20-win teams at one site and none at another. Not much can be done as long as the four-class system remains in existence. Back in the days of two classes, the geographical pairings worked much better, at least in terms of numerous strong teams not participating at one site. But that is another story, isn't it?
Fred,another week of Football in Central Illinois. It looks like Urbana has went from 1st.in the Conferenc to probably last. For what ever reasons Coach Watson thought he could pass 35 times a game and run 10 times only worked against Lanphier.which anybody could do.Centennial he must have thought would be a pushover and it was for Centennial. 1st drive Td and then shut out, He changed nothing at Half and kept on Passing which won't work without running game passing an avg.of 35 times a game and running 10 times you will lose. avg.about 70 yds on ground a game.They don't have the blocking with a drop back QB to make it work.Still no kicking game Avg Defense.Now when things go down hill finally people get on facebook kids on twitter talking about coaching and other problems wanting a change which is much needed. Told you 5 years ago this would happen.Now i hear they want to get in another Conf. which would be weaker than Big 12.On going Saga.Last but least i have decided to move to St.Joseph agreat Family and Sports Town.
Hi Tom. We've both been around long enough to know how cyclic things are at the high school level. You can't bring in kids to fill in for positions you'll lose by graduation. You can't make a 280-pounder out of a 165-pounder. I've said for years coaches get too much credit when a team wins and too much blame when a team loses. Urbana lost a talented senior-laden class last year. It stands to reason the Tigers wouldn't be as strong this year. The carryover value you see is from teams that go deep into the playoffs year after year after year (like Unity and SJ-O have done). Then you have kids with an extra three or four weeks of practice and games every year and that's something to build on. Urbana won one playoff game last year. That in itself was an accomplishment, but it's not like it set a foundation for future success. I don't think any coach goes into a Game Week thinking, "let's see what we can do to lose this week." The mindset is always on improving and getting better, being competitive. Coaches at each and every school see their players every day from mid-August on. They have done a much better job of evaluating what talent is available and what the team is capable of than someone like myself who gets to see teams play once or twice a year. There must be a reason for the passing approach. Sometimes other team's personnel is superior. Somtimes, winnable games turn into losses because of mistakes at critical times. Personally, I think talk of a conference change for Urbana would be a huge mistake. Why would you take away the natural rivalries of Central and Centennial -- games where you can throw records out the window each and every year -- for a league which might not be as strong. I realize these aren't good days for the Big 12, but I am confident the league will continue to thrive and prosper like it has since the 1920s.
Couple questions from St. Louis... I know, I know the Cardinals vs Pirates game should be all I'm thinking about, right?!
Do you have any insight as to why the Illini have not offered LB Tori Millender from Belleville West?? I'm pretty sure he has camped up there with the Illini a few times. Yes, the U of I have decent depth at LB this year, but we can never have too much talent/depth on Defense (i.e. SEC football). This kid might be a late steal for the Illini. He has been a dominate player in the SWC going on 3 years and has performed well at regional Rivals.com skill camps, yet his only current offer is Purdue.
Any updates on the DE from Luther North in STL, Renell Wren? His current offer list is pretty loaded, but do the Illini plan to get him on a visit soon?
I'd be better off talking about the Cardinals and Pirates! It's all I can do to keep track of the nine fall sports we have going on for my area 50 or so area teams, so I just don't spend much time on recruiting. Our Matt Daniels is a much better expert on that. He has the capabilities of following it much closer than myself. He'll have a chat coming up again next Friday (not tomorrow) and could address these questions much better than myself. Meanwhile, since you're a St. Louis-area resident, I won't tell you which team I'm for in the NL playoffs!
That's it for another week. We'll be back again next Thursday. Until then, cheer for your favorite teams