Viroqua HS adds new athletic co-op

School athletic cooperatives keep opportunities for students

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -- - The Viroqua School District is adding a new athletic co-op. The school will combine with Westby to give boys who are interested in tennis the opportunity to play. 

Aquinas activities director Matt Schneider said it's school partnerships like co-ops that open the door for those who have a love for a game.

"It gives kids opportunities that they otherwise wouldn't have," Schneider said.  

Schneider said their athletics department always wants to field their own athletic teams. However, that's not always possible. 

"We don't want to turn our kids away from anything they want to do," Schneider said. 

The Westby School District faces the problem with boys tennis. 

"They had a student who's interested in playing tennis and they don't have a team or the facilities," said Eric Anderson, Viroqua activities director. 

He said Viroqua has the resources to offer and wanted to help by creating a co-op. 

"We thought it was a good fit," Anderson said. 

Co-ops are contracted with the WIAA that requires them to run for at least two years and be located in the same geographical area.

Anderson said they look at several factors when partnering with other schools. 

"We look at our facilities and the number of athletes that we have on our team and the availability of coaches," Anderson said. 

He said cost is part of it but not the point. 

"Obviously there is a shared cost in co-ops, but it's not the main reason," Anderson said. "The main reason would be participation." 

Schneider said without neighboring schools like Holmen, Onalaska, West Salem, Bangor, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau and others, sports like hockey, gymnastics, and swimming would not exist. 

"A significant number of our student population wouldn't be able to enjoy some of the activities that they participate in," Schneider said. 

Anderson said it takes one community to create an opportunity for another. 

"We're pretty blessed here in Viroqua to have a community arena," Schneider said. "There's not a lot of schools in this area our size and even in the state that offer hockey."

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