Since the WIAA started holding state hockey tournaments in 1971, four Madison area teams have won state titles.
Madison Memorial won eight titles--including six with Vic Levine at the helm--while Madison East collected four gold trophies back in their heyday, and Madison West and Verona each picked up a single state championship.
Other than last year's victory by Verona, the state scene has been mostly populated by non-Madison teams since the term 'Y2K' came into being, with only five teams appearing in the title game since the calendar rolled over to 2000.
While Capitol City teams have not been competing vigorously for the state crown lately, they certainly have been battling for the honor of being the best team in the Madison area.
The WiPH pre-season poll saw Verona seated at the top spot, with Madison West at #4 and Madison Memorial ranked ninth. Madison Edgewood appeared in the honorable mention list.
The rankings were well-deserved, as the quartet all had solid, if not spectacular, seasons last year.
Verona won its first state title and went 26-2-2 in the process, earning the pre-season number one spot, judged by WiPH staff members and state coaches.
Madison West came into the season ranked fourth, finished 20-5-1 last year.
Madison Memorial started the season at number nine, and had a solid season last year with a 17-8-1 record.
Madison Edgewood, 15-11 last season, started this season in the honorable mention category.
Fast forward to the end of 2014, six weeks into the season. What's going on so far?
Lots of teams beating up on each other, with no clear top team in sight.
Madison West (9-2)
Currently ranked fourth in the WiPH polls, the Regents have beaten everybody except for one team--James Madison Memorial. The Spartans have a 1-0 win and a recent 3-1 triumph the in the title game of the Culvers Cup.
The road ahead looks tough, as West will face Middleton (twice), Madison Edgewood, Madison Memorial, Verona, Janesville, and KMMO.
Madison Memorial (9-4)
The Spartans lost to Rice Lake and Hayward early this year, and dropped games to Janesville and Middleton later. But they did beat West twice.
Potential roadblocks for JMM the rest of the season include Middleton, Verona, and a Big Eight rematch with West.
Madison Edgewood (7-4)
The Crusaders historically seem to hang around the tag end of the Top 10 or in honorable mention status. This year is no different. Edgewood beat Monona Grove this year for their biggest win.
As always, the late-year schedule for Edgewood is tough: Verona, West, Monona Grove, Middleton, USM, and Wausau West.
The defending state champs struggled early, losing four in a row before righting the ship with a 5-2 mark since to get back to .500. Two of those wins came in the Rochester (MN) Kiwanis tournament over the Christmas holidays.
Their season doesn't get any easier either, with contests against teams like Edgewood, Memorial, Notre Dame, Appleton United, Middleton, and West.
The Cardinals are sneaking quietly into the argument as one of the top teams in the Madison area. They lost games to Homestead and Monona Grove, while beating the likes of Verona and Memorial, and tying University School.
Middleton will need to battle its way to the top, facing West (2), Onalaska, Memorial, Verona, Edgewood, and KMMO the rest of the way.
Monona Grove (6-3-1)
The Silver Eagles are making some noise and although they lost to West and Edgewood, they boast wins over Homestead and Middleton.
The remainder of their season features games against University School, Edgewood, Cedarburg and Wisconsin Rapids.
The Big Eight Race
As much as these top teams have been beating up on each other, it is highly probable that the conference title won't be determined until the final week of the regular season. Time will tell.
Sectional Six Seedings
Sectional 6, of which West, Edgewood, Memorial, Middleton, and Verona are a part of, has a half-dozen teams that could realistically win the sectional title.
From top to bottom, this is arguably the strongest sectional in the state, and as is often the case, a few deserving teams will be watching from the red seats at the Clamshell instead of playing there in March.
What it boils down to is this--boys, how badly do you want it?