Ripon High School (RHS) fall sports teams, including football, boys soccer and volleyball, will play in the Flyway Conference this spring when the alternative fall season begins.

RHS Athletic Director Bill Kinziger made that announcement today (Thursday) in a press release that was sent to families of students.

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Ripon, Campbellsport, and Waupun are all a part of the East Central Conference (ECC) and will join the Flyway Conference for the alternative fall season.

Other schools in the Flyway Conference include Laconia, Lomira, Mayville, North Fond du Lac, Saint Mary’s Springs and Winnebago Lutheran Academy.

Oakfield, who is part of the Trailways Conference, will join the Flyway for volleyball only.

Ripon Area School District (RASD) Board of Education met to review the schedule for RHS fall sports at a special meeting Wednesday, Aug. 19. The board voted to use the traditional WIAA fall sports schedule for the low-risk sports of girls tennis and cross country.

The board voted to utilize the​​alternate WIAA schedule​ for the high-risk sports of football, boys soccer and volleyball, which meant RHS athletes will compete in these sports in the spring.

Since that time, Kinziger has been working to ensure RHS athletes would have a comparative opportunity to play. The Flyway conference voted Sept. 9 to accept Ripon, Campbellsport and Waupun to its conference.

The WIAA Board of Control approved the alternate schedule at its meeting Friday, Aug. 14. The inclusion of the one-year alternative season reduced all sports seasons’ length during the 2020-2021 school year, though still allows athletes to play every sport they have regularly played. There is some overlap between seasons, so schools will need to consider that in their schedules.

Fall and winter sports are decreased by three weeks. Alternate fall sports will begin around the second week of March and finish near the end of April. Spring sports will run from the end of April and finish in mid- to late-June.

“The WIAA is reviewing different possibilities for a tournament series for all sports,” Kinziger said after speaking Sept. 8 with the WIAA. “They have approved athletes to participate in some club sports concurrently with their WIAA seasons this year due to the additional season being added. This is good news for RHS volleyball players, many of whom are a part of a club team.”

The WIAA is considering allowing additional contact days for fall sports. Its next meeting will be Friday, Sept. 18.

When asked how safe the new field turf will be in the spring if the ground is still frozen, Kinziger noted, “As soon as the snow is off the turf, the field heats up. The traditional spring season starts at about the same time as the alternative fall sports calendar begins (difference of only four days). Our girls’ soccer team is out playing on the field each spring. An additional benefit this year is the new field and the shock pad, which will enhance player safety from previous years. The field could see further use this spring as other teams may request to play in Ripon.”

The RHS athletic director added that “We know that this has been a difficult time for our athletes, families and coaches. The teams in the Flyway Conference provide competitive play close to home.”

Virtual meetings will be held with the coaches, parents and players of each sport next week to answer any questions and ensure everyone is aware of the changes.

For questions or more information, call Kinziger at 748-4616.

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