Updated: Jun 7
By Jason Zaleski
Computerized seeding cannot happen soon enough in the WIAA for all sports. Sitting eight adults in a room and deciding the postseason opportunities for 16- and 17-year-old kids has proved time and time again to be too difficult a task to get right.
Conference conspiracies have forever left a negative impression on children competing in high school sports. Relying on one team's coach to take on the responsibility of researching the other seven teams in the room so they have an intelligent opinion have left deserving teams grossly mis-seeded.
Case in point, the 2021 Assumption Royals girls soccer team. The Royals are currently ranked ninth in the state and with a 9-0-2 overall record. The Royals have scored 54 goals, yep over five goals per game, impressive. In conference, the Royals have had zero goals scored against - ZERO. Ranked ninth in the state, scored 54, and have had ZERO scored against. That research took me about 90 seconds to compile.
Assumption's Mid-Western Wisconsin Soccer Conference-mate Eau Claire Regis was awarded, rightfully earned, a No. 1 seed in the adjoining Division 4 sectional bracket. Regis is a good team, they have scored 35 times with nine goals against and have an overall record of 7-4-1. One of the four losses? You read my mind, to Assumption on May 14, with a final score of 4-0. Another 30 seconds of research.
Let's recap. Assumption hasn't lost this season, scores five goals per game, hasn't given up a goal, beat an already top-seeded team, ranked ninth in the state. That's one sentence that should have been written down by every coach in the seed meeting on Saturday. Any guesses as to how many of the coaches in the room knew this basic information?
Also in the sectional group is La Crosse Aquinas, the 10th-ranked team in D4, a very good team. Aquinas plays teams two divisions up in the Mississippi Valley Conference and that needs to be weighted and factored. The other seven coaches in the room stumbled into knowing that information, apparently, and gave the 9-2-1 Aquinas Blugolds the No. 2seed in the group. Aquinas likely asked for the No. 1 seed, if they did, their case would have been very strong.
So, two ranked teams in the group in Assumption and Aquinas. The Blugolds with a very strong argument for a top seed having beat Division 2 teams and top seed Regis by a score of 4-1. They gave up a goal to Regis, the ball bounces funny sometimes, especially when you play a top seed.
Enter into the room, conference mates, buddies, pals, chums from the Capitol Conference Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld and Lodi. Both teams had given up more goals than they scored. WHB finished fourth in conference and Lodi finished fifth. Third-place finisher, Lake Mills, was awarded No. 2 seed in its sectional group.
Recap. Lake Mills finishes above both WHB and Lodi, earns a No. 2. Neither team has scored more goals than it has given up. Neither team ranked. Result? Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld is the No. 1 seed and Lodi is the No. 3 seed. Both seeded ahead of Assumption, who was punished with the No. 4 seed.
Seriously. That's what happened.