New Richmond to leave Middle Border Conference; replacement TBD
By Jason Schulte
The most geographically friendly conference in western Wisconsin is coming to an end.
The WIAA Board of Control last month approved New Richmond’s request to move from the Middle Border Conference to the Big Rivers Conference, effective 2021-22, for all sports.
A look at the enrollment numbers for this year shows the reasons behind the move.
New Richmond is the biggest school in the MBC at 949 students, with the numbers projected to go even higher in the future, according to Athletic Director Scott Farmer. Ellsworth is second at 509, followed by Osceola’s 505.
The Big Rivers is made up of Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire Memorial, Eau Claire North, Hudson, Menomonie, Rice Lake, River Falls and Superior.
There were many more factors were behind the move, Farmer added.
“Due to our football team currently already a member of the Big Rivers Conference, it truly felt like the right thing to do,” he said. “…Both conferences were in favor of this move. Many of our coaches are in favor of the move.
“…In postseason play we are asked to move up from the current Middle Border Conference in many sports. We feel after the WIAA has moved us for football the rest may became inevitable as well.
“This helps open up some of our non-conference schedules as we had to play Big Rivers Conference schools in non conference already due to common opponents for seeding meetings. I think many of us felt that in the long run this will be a move beneficial for all involved.”
Farmer said New Richmond would look into scheduling Middle Border Conference schools for non-conference opponents.
“We have some very powerful rivalries due to locations and matchups in the past,” he said. “Depending on some sports, it may be tougher than others due to scheduling limitations, but I yes to plan to keep those competitions going strong as long as we can fit them in.”
Said B-W Athletic Director Jason Sell: “New Richmond has always been a strong opponent in many sports. We have had many great games, matches, and events with New Richmond over the years. They were a measuring stick for our teams at times.
“They will be tough to replace in the MBC. We are seeking out some other schools in the MBC to replace them.”
List of Middle Border Conference schools:
(courtesy of middleborderconfererence.com)
• Ellsworth 1931-1932 to Current
• New Richmond 1931-1932 to 1998-1999, 2002-2003 to 2020-2021
• River Falls 1931-1932 to 1989-1990
• Spring Valley 1931-1932 to 1972-1973
• Menomonie 1931-1932 to 1952-1953
• Colfax 1931-1932 to 1967-1968
• Hudson 1931-1932 to 1989-1990
• Baldwin 1948-1949 to Current
• Glenwood City 1948-1949 to 1972-1973
• Durand 1967-1968 to 2015-2016
• Prescott 1970-1971 to 1977-1978, 2002-2003 to Current
• Mondovi 1970-1971 to 1994-1995
• Amery 1977-1978 to Current
• Bloomer 1989-1990 to 1994-1995
• Osceola 1994-1995 to Current
• St. Croix Falls 1994-1995 to 2002-2003
• Unity 1994-1995 to 2002-2003
• Somerset 2002-2003 to Current
• St. Croix Central 2015-2016 to Current
New Book Features Wisconsin High School Mascots
Have you ever seen a Hodag? Have you ever dug for Granite? Have you ever visited Old Abe at the state Capitol? Do you know what a Troller is?
These and other Wisconsin high school mascots are the subject of a new book by Carlo Kumpula, a retired teacher and coach from Spooner.
“Wisconsin’s Mighty Mascots” includes stories and images along with reading comprehension questions, word find puzzles, mazes, matching activities, a crossword puzzle, a map activity, and a creative activity where kids can design their own mascot.
“I designed it as an activity book for grades 4-8, but adults and older kids have been enjoying it as well,” Kumpula says.
“With schools having to adjust to COVID-19, I’m hoping this book will help to fill a need,” he added. “Teachers, including parents who have to do some teaching at home, have permission to make copies of activities from the book. It’s another tool for learning about the geography and history of Wisconsin.”
Kumpula states that the book has always been in his mind. “Growing up as a Mellen Granite Digger and competing against the Castle Guards, Trollers, Oredockers, and others; I’ve always been fascinated by unique mascots.”
“About thirty years ago I developed a geography/history lesson using mascots from around the country. Through my involvement in the Wisconsin Geographic Alliance I presented it at teacher workshops around the state as well as at the National Council for Geographic Education in Portland, Oregon in 2011 and at the National Council for the Social Studies in St. Louis in 2013. People would often ask, ‘When will you write a book?’ Well, here it is.”
This is actually Kumpula’s second book. His first, “When All Roads Led to Spooner,” chronicles the history of the sectional basketball tournament held annually from 1943-1971 when all schools, regardless of enrollment, competed in a single class.