By Al Zipsie

We look back at 2018. NUIC top highlights in team and Individual sports for both boys and girls.

Team

  1. Forreston. Football. State Championship.
  2. Stockton. Girls basketball. State runner-up.
  3. Galena. Volleyball. State Runner-up.
  4. Eastland/Pearl City. Loss football 2A semifinal.
  5. Lena-Winslow. Loss football 1A semifinal.
  6. Forreston baseball super-sectional loss
  7. Durand. Volleyball. Super-Sectional loss.
  8. Orangeville Super Sectional softball loss.
  9. East Dubuque. Boys basketball. Sectional final loss.
  10. Lena-Winslow/Stockton wrestling. Sectional loss to eventual state champion Aurora Christian.
  11. Aquin baseball and Aquin girls basketball.

Individual.

  1. AJ Christensen. Forreston. Double state hurdle champion. All-time NUIC record in 300 Intermediate hurdles in :37.62.
  2. Ian Kuehl. Lena-Winslow Wrestling 285 state champion.
  3. Maverick McPeek. Dakota. 220-pound wrestling state champion.
  4. Emily Offenheiser. Stockton. Discus State Champion. Second in shot put. Both all-time NUIC girls track records. Offenheiser was the Stateline Sports Hub female multi-sports athlete of the year.
  5. Rahveon Valentine. Lena-Winslow. Second in state in wrestling at 170. Medals at state track in the events. Sixth in the 100 meters. Second and third in sprint relays. Our Stateline Sports Hub male multi-sports athlete of the Year.
  6. Carmen DeVries. Lena-Winslow 400 meter state champion. Also third in triple jump and fourth in long jump.
  7. Rebecca Waite. Milledgeville. 4-time state medalist track senior year. All-time NUIC record holder in 100 and 200 meters.
  8. Paige Christopher. River Ridge/Galena/East Dubuque track. In 2A state fourth in 100 hurdles and fifth long jump. Both all-time NUIC girls track records.
  9. Brady Webb. Polo. 6th in long jump. Medaled in Polo/Forreston 1600 meter relay. All-time NUIC record in long jump 22'6.
  10. Isaiah Bruce. Lena-Winslow. Three-time state medalist in track. Second and third in sprint relays and seventh in shot put.
  11. Hunter Luke. Lena-Winslow. Lena-Winslow/Stockton. Wrestling. Fourth in state.

For all time NUIC track records go to Facebook NUIC track. For an all-time list of NUIC state hardware go to Facebook NUIC Sports.

Number one story of the year. The IHSA on Tuesday approved football districts starting in 2021. Proposal 23 won by a close margin of 324-307. 116 schools did not vote and 69 had no opinion with abstentions.

Districts will be assigned by school enrollment from 1A to 8A. The 7 games in District play will decide who goes to the playoffs, regardless of record. The top four in Districts make the playoffs.

The Districts will not be announced for a while. The first two games will be non-district games as scheduled by schools. They will not count towards record for playoffs.

The idea to make playoffs fairer by district by enrollment. Instead of Conferences that may have schools much larger than the other.

My opinion. Horrible idea. Why 185 no votes or no opinions? The playoffs will be worse. While the Northwest area will continue to dominate at state. They will only get four teams from division into playoffs. While other parts of the state will have cupcakes teams making the playoffs by playing weak District schedule.

While some 1A schools from Northwest may be in District already in NUIC. How about Dakota who may end up with teams from Chicago. So Dakota or Forreston who voted for the proposal would make the long drive with no history. Or in 2A Eastland/Pearl City and West Carroll in 2A. And what about Durand/Pecatonica if in 3A. They are trying to build a Coop program. But could end up playing powers like Byron and Stillman Valley.

Statewide the travel overall will be longer and in many cases will take away from playing old Conference rivals. The scheduling the first two games of the Year prior to Districts will be chaos. And not counting towards playoffs will be more like "exhibition games".

With two years left before the Districts decided by the IHSA go into effect. The NUIC will be going to divisions but not by enrollment but a North and South. Also, think about Coop's that will change districts and for teams like Ashton/Franklin Center who may decide to just go eight-man football. Like Polo and River Ridge have already done.

The Districts are not for all sports, just football.