By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — The University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County women’s basketball program is down but not out.
The school and Athletic Director Lori Galetka announced on Nov. 3, just two days before the start of the 2016-2017 season, that UW-Marshfield/Wood County would cancel its upcoming schedule due to lack of participation.
The Marauders had six women committed prior to the start of practice last month and would have went into the season with as few as the necessary five in hopes of picking up another player or two during the course of the season, but some of the players decided not to participate in the final days of preparation prior to the season.
Head coach Brent Ystad, who was entering his fourth year as the Marauders’ head coach, had six commitments, according to Galetka. Ystad did not respond to a request for comment prior to this week’s publication deadline.
“Honestly, he goes above and beyond what needs to be done recruiting-wise,” Galetka said. “He had no less than six women commit to coming to UW-Marshfield to play basketball. They all came here. They just decided that with their various school and work schedules and commuting that the time commitment was too much.”
This is the second time in the past two decades the Marauders have had to cancel due to lack of numbers, and it does happen to other Wisconsin Collegiate Conference members every so often.
However, this is not the end, Galetka said. There are plans to get started on recruiting again, and she hopes the Marauders women will be back on the basketball court a year from now for the 2017-2018 campaign.
“We hold two preview days a year — in the fall and spring — for prospective high school students, and I facilitate a session, along with my coaches, in which we talk about our UW athletic programs, intramurals, and our health and exercise science courses. As a matter of fact, we just had our fall Preview Day last Friday, and we had 60 prospective students and their parents show up,” Galetka said. “We’ve always gotten it back, and we’ve had some great teams. We’re doing everything we need to be doing, so I anticipate having a program next year.”