SHS gymnastics and boys swim teams to join BRCThe SHS gymnastics team and boys swimming and diving team will become the final athletic programs to join a conference next year when they enter the Big Rivers Conference.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
Beginning in 2013, every sport at Superior High School will have a conference affiliation.
The SHS gymnastics team and boys swimming and diving team will become the final athletic programs to join a conference next year when they enter the Big Rivers Conference.
“This is huge for us. Huge,” said Lynda Ritsche, who has helped coach the Spartan gymnastics team for 10 years. “I just get goose bumps thinking about it.”
The two Superior teams were unanimously accepted into the BRC at the conference’s annual meeting in September, and they will become official members of the conference in the 2013-14 season.
Other schools in the Big Rivers Conference include Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire Memorial, Eau Claire North, Hudson, Menomonie, Rice Lake and River Falls.
“This is one thing I’ve been waiting to achieve,” Ritsche said. “I’m just so pumped about it that now it’s like, ‘I can’t retire.’”
The SHS gymnastics team and boys swim team were able to apply for membership in the BRC after the conference changed its bylaws recently to allow single-sport affiliation.
Most SHS teams are affiliated with the Lake Superior Conference, which is based in Minnesota. Superior currently has 12 sports sanctioned by the LSC and is required to participate in all sports offered by the conference.
“For the LSC to offer a conference sport, 50 percent of the member schools must sponsor that sport,” said Ray Kosey, SHS activities director. “Fifty percent of the LSC schools do not sponsor gymnastics or boys swimming and diving.”
Superior is also excused from its conference obligations for sports with seasons that differ from Wisconsin to Minnesota. Both girls soccer and girls golf compete during a different season in Wisconsin, so the Spartans play in the Middle Border Conference for soccer and the Heart O’ North Conference in golf.
Superior’s wrestling team also competes in the HON conference because the LSC does not sponsor wrestling.
In football, the Spartans play in the BRC. Kosey said football is not sponsored by the LSC due to enrollment concerns.
Ritsche said she’s excited for the gymnastics team to join the BRC. The affiliation gives athletes an opportunity to win conference championships and all-conference honors, and it also strengthens the gymnasts’ schedule.
“We see all these teams in our invites on Saturdays,” Ritsche said. “We need to see these guys more on a regular basis so the girls know what they’re up against.”
For the boys swimming and diving team, the inclusion in the BRC will lead to a few schedule changes, but not many.
“We already see Eau Claire, Rice Lake, Menomonie and sometimes Hudson in dual meets,” said George Lehman, SHS swim coach. “We would have to add River Falls and Chippewa Falls.”
Lehman said the new additions could make for some late night trips on school days, but he also looks forward to a high level of competition for the Spartans within the BRC.
Kosey acknowledged that travel expenses and the loss of class time for student-athletes are concerns, but the district has a year to resolve the issues.
“To help solve these concerns we will look at scheduling gymnastic meets and boys swim and dive meets on same nights at same sites so teams can travel on the same bus,” Kosey said. “We will also look at creative scheduling to maybe include triangular instead of dual meets and Friday and Saturday contests with schools farther away from Superior.”