D-11 outlines playoff plans
With the postseason on the horizon, District 11 provided an update on the status of its winter sports championship schedules on Friday.
“Obviously, this winter has not gotten any easier,” said District 11 and Wrestling Chairman Bob Hartman. “If anything it’s gotten more difficult in presenting our winter athletics programs for all of our high schools, and that’s no different for District 11 as we proceed into our winter championship season. It is right around the corner, with our District 11 team wrestling championships starting next week.”
Adapting and adjusting to the many changes and challenges presented this year has been no easy task. But those efforts have been vital in ensuring the safety of athletes, coaches and spectators while also maintaining the competitive nature that Hartman hopes will endure in the postseason.
“We realize that there are things that are not ideal,” said Hartman. “But our committee and our chairs have worked tirelessly to do as good as we can possibly do by our student-athletes. Those guys and those girls are our priority; their safety is our priority. Having them have venues to compete in is our priority, and we’re going to continue to work to provide that.”
Hartman championed the continued use of masks in each sport, other than swimming and diving and those with exceptions. He also noted the district has learned from the fall season.
Schools have been told if they need to shut down or pause activities, that those contests will be postponed to the last possible time available, which is generally one day in between contests. Canceling will happen at the last possible opportunity.
The hope is to avoid teams leaving and reentering a tournament. Once they say they are out, they are out, with no exceptions.
• There are no sites currently determined for the team wrestling championships. The district is working with a number of schools, and if those are not a possibility, they will work with larger local community center locations to run wrestling tournaments there. The team championships are also an open event, though Hartman noted that many – if not most – have chosen to not participate due to the timing and any potential conflict with the individual tournaments, which begin Feb. 20. As is the case in other winter sports, only the champion advances to the PIAA Championships.
• The PIAA has not yet set dates for its wrestling team championships, however they will not occur until after the individual championships. For the district team championships, the hope is to hold matches at sites of the higher seeded teams. The deadline for entry is Saturday, with brackets and pairings likely coming Sunday. The tournament itself will likely take place next Saturday.
• The individual wrestling tournaments will be held Feb. 20 and 21, which is a Saturday and Sunday to avoid co-mingling with student populations on a school day with sites still to be determined. They will be held as eight-man tournaments, with the 2A and 3A finals held in separate locations. In Class 3A, three wrestlers will advance to regionals, while two will move on from 2A.
“In 2A, there will be a true second-place match for our third-place finisher to wrestle our second-place finisher if they have not wrestled at any time in the tournament,” said Hartman.
• The regional tournament will be a one-day event on Feb. 27 at sites to be determined and again will be eight-man brackets. Hartman noted there could be four sessions in one Saturday will be small, with half the competitors in each session of the eight-man bracket.
• Something new this year, the super regional tournament - an eight-person tournament - will occur on Saturday, March 6.
In the East Region in Class 2A, the tournament will encompass Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 11 and 12, and from that eight-person tournament, four wrestlers will advance to states the following week. In Class 3A, the East Region will be Districts 1, 2, 11 and 12. Districts 3 and 4 will go west. As in 2A, four wrestlers from the eight-person tournament will advance to states.
• The seeding will also be amended this year, with some level of committee oversight and input from those connected to the sport to get an accurate representation of where each wrestler stands.
• The district voted Thursday to move basketball to an open tournament, so all teams will be eligible. This was done for many of the same reasons as wrestling, with schools having a wide-range of competitions this season.
“We were concerned that there may be some issues with that in regard to our power ratings system so we wanted to optimize the number of opportunities for our student-athletes to participate in meaningful games,” said District 11 Basketball Chair Ray Kinder.
• The District 11 basketball tournament begins on March 2 and 3 with pigtail rounds, and quarterfinals on March 5 and 6. The semifinals are scheduled for March 9 and 10, with championships slated for March 12 and 13.
“As is always the case, schools can opt out, so if a school feels as though they do not want to enter the tournament – maybe they will be facing a higher seeded team and would prefer to play a game against a team that has a similar level of achievement - they can opt out and still play regular season games at that time,” Kinder said. “We believe it provides options for both scenarios.”
• The pigtail, quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will all be at the site of the higher seeded team. The current plan is to have finals at neutral sites. As is the case with other winter sports, only the champions in each class will move on to states.
“With our subregionals, we will determine our own champion, they will determine their own champion, and they will play on that first date in the state tournament,” Kinder added. “They will not be incorporated within our tournaments.”
• The state basketball tournament is set to start on March 16, with the final championship game on March 27 in Hershey.
SWIMMING AND DIVING
• The diving championships will take place as scheduled at Emmaus on Feb. 27. There will be eight divers for each classification per gender.
• Similar to wrestling, the swimming has been moved to a Saturday and Sunday format to avoid having additional people in the school at Parkland. Class 3A will be Saturday, March 6 followed by 2A on Sunday, March 7.
• There will be eight swimmers or relay teams in each event.
“We will be taking the top eight times from District 11 for each event and having one heat for the individual events, two heats of four with the relay teams,” said Swimming and Diving Chair Ray Ramella. “Our plan right now is to do a girls session and a boys session for each day.
Only the champions in each event will move on to states.
• There will be no spectators, but both Emmaus and Parkland will be livestreaming the events.