Undefeated Newman and Riverdale high schools are the heavy favorites, with Morrison running a close third, heading into next week’s Three Rivers Area Conference Scholastic Bowl championship.
With the round-robin portion of competition coming to an end Thursday night, the stage is set for championship meets being held at Newman Central Catholic and Erie high schools at 5 p.m. Monday.
The Three Rivers conference grew this year from nine teams to 15, but travel distances made it problematic to have each team play every other team, Newman coach Ann Propheter said in an email.
That, though, seemed to negate the positive aspects of the expanded conference, one of which was the opportunity to play a larger number of different teams, she wrote.
So the scholastic bowl coaches decided to split the conference into two geographic divisions: East and West (using state Route 78 as a line of demarcation), then have one night of championship play with the top teams from each division playing in a tournament format at one site and the remaining teams playing at another site, Propheter said.
Both divisions have completed 5 weeks of competition, and division champs have been named. The standings heading into the championship meet at Newman are:
Hall (Spring Valley) 8-3
St. Bede (Peru) 7-5
Riverdale (Port Byron) 14-0
Rockridge (Taylor Ridge) 10-4
The standings for schools playing at Erie are:
Bureau Valley (Manlius) 2-9
Both Riverdale and Newman are undefeated in their respective divisions, but other local schools aren’t out of the running, Erie coach Keith Stewart noted in an email. Riverdale has the top two individual scorers from the western division – Colin Vaughan with 70 toss-ups and Ashten Sherman with 51 – while the eastern division boasts Newman’s Elliott Frankfother, the conference’s leading scorer and MVP with 90 toss-ups.
Morrison, though, could be the X factor in the championship finals, with three of the top 10 individual scorers from the West, Stewart said.
The conference champ will come away with trophies and bragging rights only; this is not part of Illinois High School Association competition.
Newman will host an IHSA regional tournament March 10, and the state finals will be held March 21 at the Peoria Civic Center.
Go to ihsa.org for all the results.