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Cutter's Corner: A little of this, a little of that

Kennedy Shaw and the Rock Falls volleyball team have a chance to go unbeaten this year, as the Rockets are 28-0 heading into Saturday’s Eastland Tournament.
Kennedy Shaw and the Rock Falls volleyball team have a chance to go unbeaten this year, as the Rockets are 28-0 heading into Saturday’s Eastland Tournament.

Only four unbeaten local teams remain.

Three of them are football squads: Morrison, Polo and Sterling.

The other is Rock Falls volleyball, who is 28-0 heading into Saturday’s five-match Eastland Tournament.

The Rockets also have conference matches with Mendota and Genoa-Kingston next week, and could be 35-0 if they finish the regular season unbeaten or untied.

Finishing a regular season unbeaten in volleyball is a rare occurrence in the area.

Faith Christian has done it once in NCSAA play, running the table in 2009.

The last public school to accomplish the feat was Milledgeville in 1999; the Missiles advanced to the Class A finals before suffering their first loss in 35 matches. Milledgeville also finished the regular season unbeaten in 1987, amassing 32 wins before falling in sectional play.

Morrison had unbeaten regular seasons in 1975 and 1986.

Eastland did not lose a regular season match in 1999, but finished with one tie.

Rock Falls will play in 2A in this year’s state final tournament, falling into the small school ranks for the first time since 2010.

Quincy Notre Dame (22-0) also is unbeaten in 2A.

Rockets coach Sheila Pillars has always believed that her program is more 2A in nature, as opposed to being on the small end of the 3A ranks. Needless to say, Rock Falls should be a tough out in the 2A field this year.

Do the math: The IHSA Board of Directors on Monday approved new qualifying standards for this year’s state track and field meets.

The board also approved a change to convert measurements in field events from English to metric. This change makes Illinois high school meets compatible to collegiate track and field competition.

The conversion figure to remember: 1 foot is equal to 0.3048 meters.

Gone are the familiar milestones in feet and inches. Someone with a goal to high jump 6 feet now will be looking for 1.83 meters; 2 meters is 6 feet, 5.6 inches.

In September, the IHSA track and field advisory committee found that the measuring of fractions, by quarters, could be difficult to determine, and lead to questions of accuracy. Factors of 10 can be used on measuring tape with the metric system.

Florida high schools also use metric measurements in field events.

Sterling girls track coach Tyler Gaumer, a pole vaulter in high school, had to switch his mindset from English measurements to metric at Iowa State University. In high school, the bar moves up in increments of 6 inches on most occasions; it’s 15 centimeters in college, which converts to 5.91 inches.

Any amount of space, no matter how minuscule, makes a difference in such events.

“You put a bar up, and hopefully they’ll just go get it,” Gaumer said. “We’re hoping kids are still going to PR even with this change to metric just because they don’t know where the bar is going to be at. Sometimes it’s jut that mental block for kids.”

Rich East closes: The first high school to close in 2020 will be Rich East in south suburban Park Forest.

The Rich Township Board of Education voted 4-3 Monday to close the building, which was the district’s first high school before Central and South high schools opened.

The Rockets didn’t have many ties to the Sauk Valley, but they were Class 5A in football for the past few years. This will lead to a slight adjustment in districting projected 5A groups, which Sterling is involved, for when district football in Illinois begins in 2021.

Geneseo graduate Barry Reade, brother of former Dixon football coach Ryan Reade, coached the Rockets’ football squad from 2006-15.

Rich East also was where retired University of Michigan and San Diego State University men’s basketball coach Steve Fisher began his coaching career. He went 127-74 from 1971 to 1979 as Rockets coach, a decade before coaching the Wolverines to the 1989 NCAA Championship.

LaMoille-Ohio to split spring teams: Athletic cooperatives are contractually bound and registered with the IHSA. If the dissolution of one is requested before the contract is up, it has to be approved by the board of directors, which did so Monday.

The co-op was set to expire in 2021.

A phone call to Ohio principal Jason Wilt was not returned Thursday for additional details.

The co-op, for now, will continue for volleyball and basketball.

Both schools hook up with Amboy for football, cross country, golf (which also includes AFC), track and wrestling.

New SVM Sports contact information: Sauk Valley Media’s offices have moved from Sterling to Dixon, and this will result in a change in contact information for news tips and for coaches and school personnel who wish to report sports results.

Our email – – has not changed, but our phone and fax numbers have.

Call 815-632-2542, 815-625-2543 or 815-632-2544 to report scores before 9:15 p.m. Saturday through Thursday and 10:15 on Friday; the new fax number is 815-284-2078.

Our new office is at the former Telegraph Building at 113 S. Peoria Ave.

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