Just after it was announced last spring that Goodhue would be leaving the Three Rivers Conference to join the Hiawatha Valley League, people started asking questions. Why did they make the switch? Who is going to take Goodhue’s place in the Three Rivers Conference? But the biggest question that people have been asking: Will Goodhue be able to compete with the larger schools in the HVL? After about a month of football and volleyball, Goodhue athletics has a combined record of 15-1 and many of these questions have been answered.
For Goodhue athletes in the last 20 years, long bus rides have been just a part of life. While most of the schools in the Three Rivers Conference (TRC) are fairly close together along Interstate 90 just south of Rochester, Goodhue is the odd man out. Being almost 45 minutes north of Rochester, Goodhue players could expect to ride the bus for at least an hour on the way to away events. After the events, the players get back on the bus and go back home, often arriving back to Goodhue after midnight. “Those bus rides were terrible,” said Goodhue senior Sean Thomforde, “They were just too long!” These long rides are almost a thing of the past now that the Wildcats are in the HVL. Besides an occasional trip to Winona Cotter or LaCrescent, the typical ride will only be about thirty minutes. This move benefits everyone involved with the Wildcats. Parents will be spared from driving long distances several times a week, the players won’t arrive back to school past midnight, and the school will save money on fuel for long bus trips. “It just works out well for everyone,” stated Goodhue’s athletic director, Tony Poncelet.
The move definitely benefited Goodhue, but what about the other teams in the Hiawatha Valley League? What kind of competition does Goodhue bring to the conference? Goodhue is in the smallest class, class A, for all athletic events. The Three Rivers Conference is made almost exclusively of small class A and AA schools. While Goodhue was a medium-sized school in the TRC, they are easily the smallest school in the Hiawatha Valley, a conference full of AA and AAA class schools. Goodhue’s enrollment is about 190. The next smallest school in the HVL, Triton, has an enrollment of about 300. The largest school in the HVL, Kasson-Mantorville, has an enrollment of over 600. With the big difference in class sizes, some say Goodhue will not be able to compete. After four weeks of high school sports in the bag, it’s safe to say Goodhue definitely has what it takes to be competitive. The Wildcat football and volleyball teams have a combined record of 15-1. Both teams face a tough task in the near future as the volleyball team takes on Stewartville tonight and the football team travels to Winona Cotter on Friday.
Brett Watson & Richard Bigelow