Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, Frasier and Ali, Ravens and Steelers: the sports world is full of fearsome rivalries, and the University of Wisconsin–Stout is no exception. The UW–Stout and University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire rivalry is a long and bitter one that has colored almost every sporting event between the two schools.
On Saturday, Oct. 28, the Blue Devils downed the Blugolds in both football and women’s soccer, taking home the traveling trophies for both.
The UW–Stout soccer team ended the game with a 2-1 win over UW–Eau Claire. This year is the first year that UW–Stout won the coined “Battle of the Blues” and took home the axe that serves as the game’s trophy since its creation in 2014.
“It’s one of our goals every year to win the axe, and for the seniors to finally win it is exciting. I’m glad it’s something they got to do in their career,” said Ryan Raufus, head women’s soccer coach.
The win was not only a point of pride for the soccer team; it also solidified a home game for the first round of the playoffs, which the team won against University of Wisconsin–Steven’s Point. They ended their season in the second round against University of Wisconsin–La Crosse on Nov. 2.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils’ football team took home the trophy for the “War on I-94” on Oct. 28. This was their third consecutive win against UW–Eau Claire, and it was an especially dominant win with a final score of 55-7.
“Our team always elevates their game a notch higher when we play [UW–Eau Claire]. Our men did a nice job of executing, taking care of the football and making big plays. All the things you need to win,” said Clayt Birmingham, head football coach.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the first year that UW–Stout and UW–Eau Claire played each other in both basketball and football.
The proximity of UW–Eau Claire to UW–Stout makes for an easy rivalry formation. The external relations and promotions director for the athletic department, Brett Schreiner, who also happens to be a UW–Eau Claire alumni, said that the game is a large source of pride for the winning school.
“There is a lot of bad blood, as there should be in any good rivalry. A lot of these [athletes] played against each other in high school or were on the same teams. That just kind of fuels that,” Schreiner said.
“[UW-Stout and UW-Eau Claire] don’t like each other,” said Layne Pitt, Sports Information director, “We respect each other, but we don’t like each other.”