Cheerleading is done, while boys hockey and football could experience significant changes.
The Tomah School Board tackled several sports-related issues during its regular monthly meeting Monday, including a 7-0 vote to terminate the football cheerleading squad.
Cheerleading has been in decline in Tomah and elsewhere for several years. Tomah hasn’t had boys and girls basketball cheerleaders in more than two decades, and Holmen is now the only Mississippi Valley Conference School that has football cheerleaders.
School district activities director Tom Curran said interest in cheerleading has declined since the number of girls sports has risen.
The district has added five WIAA-sanctioned sports since Tomah moved into the MVC in 1989 in addition to girls powerlifting and bowling, both non-WIAA sports. He said students have taken over leading cheers at football and basketball contests.
School board president Brian Hennessey said fans have gotten used to not having cheerleaders.
“It was at the (football) game Friday, and I don’t anybody who missed it,” he said.
The board also heard about significant changes proposed for boys hockey and football.
Curran said numbers have been declining for boys hockey in Tomah and statewide as more athletes opt for non-high school teams.
He Tomah’s numbers should be sufficient for 2017-18 but the program could be looking for a co-op partner, mostly likely Sparta, as early as 2018-19.
“We’re at the point where we need to look at a co-op with Sparta to be able to put together a team,” Curran said.
Tomah is one of the few schools of its size that doesn’t have a co-op partner for hockey. The Mississippi Valley Conference has two co-ops − La Crosse Central/La Crosse Logan and La Crosse Aquinas/Holmen/Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau. Curran left open the possibility that the co-op could expand beyond Tomah and Sparta.
The football change involves possible conference realignment starting with the 2019-20 season. Football is the only WIAA sport in which every team doesn’t make the playoffs, and Curran said enrollment disparities within conferences are making it difficult for smaller schools to qualify.
Curran said a football-only realignment would involve schools in southwest Wisconsin, many of whom have difficulty filling their nonconference dates.