By Diane Stamm
The Wauneta Breeze
Growing up in Cambridge in the 90’s was fun.
In the 1993-1994 school year Cambridge won state titles in volleyball, football, girls’ basketball and boys’ track. Golf was runner-up.
The football team played in six-of-seven state championship games, winning five while going 83-1.
The girls basketball team won 81-straight games and three straight state championships. (How many of you were at the 1994 game between Cambridge and Wauneta-Palisade? The game still sits fifth in the NSAA record books for total points scored with 165 points scored in the 95-70 Cambridge win.)
We had a lot of fun.
The rest of Class C2, not so much.
Other schools have had runs of such domination. When I think of schools with tradition I think of Grant in football, Sandy Creek and South Sioux City in girls’ basketball and Republican Valley in volleyball.
State Senator Russ Karpisek from Wilber is now looking to get legislation passed to move schools up a class when they dominate the class they are in.
Modeled off an Indiana rule, schools would earn a point for district titles, state tournament games, semifinal appearances and championships in team sports. Get 12 points or more points in one sport over a four-year period and you get bumped up in that sport.
I couldn’t agree more. What do kids learn by blowing other teams out of the water. It’s hard to learn humility and experience good sportsmanship with little competition.
If you really want to see me get excited, bring up private and parochial schools. After you peel me off the ceiling we can talk about how it’s hard these days to see a state tournament schedule not littered with the names of private and parochial schools. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, the bill is aimed at those teams.
Karpisek was quoted as saying “private and parochial schools are able to recruit players and, more important, control their student enrollment.”
By my count there are 38 private and parochial schools out of 309 schools that are members in the NSAA.
Using football, volleyball and basketball as my guidelines I did a little research.
Over this past fall’s football and volleyball seasons and last spring’s basketball seasons, 10 of the 38 schools did make an appearance in the football playoffs or state tournament.
Thirteen schools made one of these events, nine made two events, five made three appearances and two schools qualified for all four sports.
In volleyball, four out of the six state championships went to a parochial school, Class A Omaha Marian, Class C1 Kearney Catholic, Class C2 Hastings St. Cecilia and Class D1 St. Mary’s.
In other sports, Omaha Skutt won in football and was fourth in volleyball.
In Class C1, six of the eight schools qualified for the 47- team state playoffs. Besides volleyball, Kearney Catholic was second in girls’ basketball, fourth in boys’ basketball, plus participated in the football playoffs and girls’ state basketball. Lincoln Christian went in football and in both girls’ and boys’ basketball.
In Class C2 all 10 private and parochial schools made the 48-team playoffs. Four of the 10 schools qualified for state in at least three events. Hastings St. Cecilia also was second in girls’ basketball.
Hastings St. Cecilia’s girls’ basketball team is currently 13-1 in Class C2 and Hastings Public Schools’ team is 7-7 in Class B. For the boys’ St. Cecilia is 12-3 and Hastings High is 5-8.
While St. Marys was winning a volleyball championship, it’s counterpart, C1 O’Neill, went 4-22 in volleyball. St. Mary’s was third in boys’ basketball and was second in girls’ basketball. St. Mary’s is currently 13-1 in girls’ basketball while O’Neill is 1-15. On the boys’ side St. Mary’s is 10-3 and O’Neill is 10-5.
Falls City Sacred Heart plays in Class D2. It won in football and was third in both girls’ basketball (playing Lindsay Holy Family in the consolation game) and boys’ basketball (Spalding/Spalding Academy was second) plus made it to state volleyball.
While looking up results I looked at FCSH’s playoff history. I noticed that in 2012, FCSH made it to the state championship game with wins over Parkview Christian and Lindsay Holy Family before losing to Humphrey St. Francis in the finals.
While both C1 Falls City Public and FCSH are doing well in boys’ basketball, the Fall City Public girls’ team is 7-10 while FCSH is 15-1.
Cambridge moved up to Class C1 for volleyball and basketball in 1993-94. The Trojans would never have won a volleyball championship in Class C2 where the school was dominated by eventual C2 champion Republican Valley.
The move to C1 also resulted in, by far, the best basketball game of the three state titles, a 64-61 overtime win over Crofton.
There was a lot of good girls’ basketball being played in southwest Nebraska during this time, Wauneta-Palisade included. With Cambridge out of the way there’s a good chance another team from the area would have done well at state.
The NSAA says that the member schools should decide who moves up a class, but this is a ridiculous response. The NSAA has never made any effort to make any change like the one being suggested and instead continues to let schools run roughshod over the rest of its class.
The Lincoln Journal Star said NSAA executive director Rhonda Blanford-Green said the NSAA “understands there are concerns out there about parity and equity and championship success.”
Then do something!
From some rules the NSAA has passed recentlyit appears it is more worried about marketing itself than fair play.
The legislation takes on a glass half full approach. What school looks at as a penalty, the next will look at it as a challenge.
I believe kids will take on the attitudes of the adults leading them and I, for one, would like to see where that may be.