Big Change Proposed for Athletics

West Bend wants to join the North Shore Conference

By Trina La Susa, Current Staff

If the West Bend Athletic Department gets its way, East and West will soon count Homestead and Nicolet as fierce rivals.

On September 18, East Athletic Director Jeff Rondorf and West Athletic Director Scott Stier made a request to the WIAA for the West Bend High Schools to withdraw from the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference and join the North Shore Conference. The request was made during the fourth of seven area meetings throughout the state.

“Geographically, the North Shore Conference is a better fit in terms of travel and reduced travel costs,” said Rondorf.

The plan to switch conferences would not only take transportation costs down a notch, but athletes would also be able to get home earlier from sporting events. To most athletes, this is a comforting notion.

Still, some athletes have some slight worries about the choice to change conferences.

“I would be happy to get home earlier on game days, but it is going to be a lot more challenging in the North Shore Conference. That is some serious competition!,” said Becca Giessen, East varsity soccer player.

Currently the North Shore Conference consists of Cedarburg, Germantown, Grafton, Homestead, Milwaukee Lutheran, Nicolet, Port Washington, and Whitefish Bay.

Does a conference change mean more WBHS teams will eventually combine?  According to West Athletic Director Scott Stier, the answer is no.

“We are already a part of the North Shore Conference for baseball. In the past our swim teams were combined, but now they are separated. If anything, in the future only swim teams would be reunited,” said Stier.

Other members of the swim team seem astonished by the choice to switch conferences and question why the teams were ever split in the first place.

“I’m very surprised about the decision to switch conferences. However, if this gives the swim team a chance to re-unify in the future, then this is great news. The splitting of teams caused way too many problems, such as pool space, budgeting, and of course, being two different teams when we were originally one,” said Mike Smale, East junior.

Many swimmers feel that combining the two teams is a positive idea.

“In my opinion the merging of the teams would be good, but due to the lack of popularity for the sport, the teams as they stand separate are very small. I believe the incorporation of the two teams would be near equivalent to the size of other schools’ teams. However, I do not think we should have to switch our conference to achieve this goal,” said Joe Pechstein, West senior.

“I feel that merging the teams back together will benefit our schools because we will be able to demonstrate the passion and dedication our team shows towards swimming in its entirety.  We will also be able to represent both schools as hardworking and united athletes if we were able to come back together,” said East junior Logan Dommisse, who has been swimming for three years.

The application to North Shore Conference was the first step in a long process.  Changes could begin in three years, if the schools are accepted.  As for the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference, three of its eight teams have applied to withdraw, so until the applications are looked over, its future is uncertain.

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