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home : columns : joel alvstad
July 15, 2019

6/6/2019 8:51:00 AM
Changes coming for some prep sports

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

There will be some significant changes to the high school sports landscape in a few years, following Monday's meeting of the Minnesota State High School League's board of directors.
But a handful of other changes were either voted down or died for lack of a second.
First, we'll touch on what changes.
The board approved beginning in the 2021-22 school year, volleyball will go from three classes to four classes and cross country will go from two classes to three classes. Soccer also will go to a three-class format.
Locally, I doubt that much will change as far as volleyball goes. It likely means Windom stays firmly entrenched in Class AA for the forseeable future. MLAC, RRC and WWG will all stay in Class A and will probably remain in their current section alignments.
For Windom, the bigger question will be which program will become the powerhouse of Section 3AA? In a four-class system, Marshall is likely to move up to Class AAA. But Minneota has done some bouncing back and forth between Class A and AA in four-class programs.
Cross country also figures to become interesting, particularly for the Class A schools in the area that won't have to contend with the likes of Luverne, Fairmont or Redwood Valley. Windom could be a school that bumps back and forth between Class A and AA. A three-class system also could see MLAC get shifted to the east.
Now, for a couple that didn't change.
The board of directors voted down a proposal to add shot clocks to basketball.
I've stated on numerous occasions that I don't believe a shot clock is necessary in high school basketball. However, I do feel that there will be enough pressure to add them eventually, especially when one considers North Dakota and South Dakota both currently use them.
The state's basketball coaches overwhelmingly support adding a shot clock. Section coordinators and school administrators are overwhelmingly against it. I see their point. Shot clocks are an added expense in hardware and in game-day personnel. And in schools that use two gyms, like Windom does, you have twice the expense.
Proponents argue a shot clock adds to the flow of the game and makes it more entertaining. My counter argument is that high school sports don't exist for the entertainment of the masses.
That said, I acknowledge that the addition of a shot clock is probably more a matter of when, rather than if. It will happen someday - just not next year.
Another change that never even came to a vote was a proposal to add a full consolation bracket to individual state wrestling.
Currently, state wrestling uses a modified double-elimination format. If you lose in the first round, the wrestler you lost to in the first round needs to win their second match in order for you to come back in the consolation bracket.
Changing the policy would have guaranteed every individual at least two matches on the state tournament stage. However, the concern was whether or not all of those matches would be able to fit into the current two day individual tourney, without the need to rent out additional space.
College round-up
One thing I'm hoping to pull together for a couple of weeks from now is a recap of all the athletes from the area who competed at the collegiate level this season, as well as former area athletes who are currently coaching at the high school or collegiate level.
If you have some information, pass it along to me at joela@windomnews.com.

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