There will be championships decided in Section I for this abbreviated fall season.
The Section I Executive Committee announced on Nov. 4 that regional championship tournaments will be held for both boys’ and girls’ soccer, field hockey, boys’ and girls’ cross country, and girls’ tennis.
Rather than the usual playoff format that was based on enrollment classification size — Class AA, A, B, C, and D — there will be four geographic regions — Southern Westchester, Putnam/Northern Westchester, Rockland, and Dutchess.
Inside the Southern Westchester and Putnam/Northern Westchester groupings, teams will be divided into two brackets — large and small schools. Rockland and Dutchess schools will compete in one bracket.
The large school bracket will be made up of Class AA and A schools, including Ardsley. The small school bracket will consist of Class B, C, and D schools, including Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, and Irvington.
The decision to divide the teams geographically was made to limit travel during the pandemic.
Tournament play in soccer and field hockey is tentatively set to begin this Monday, Nov. 16. The field hockey and boys’ soccer finals are scheduled for Nov. 22, with the girls’ soccer title games on Nov. 23.
The girls’ tennis tournament held its opening rounds at six regional host sites on Nov. 8. The finals are set for Nov. 14.
The cross-country championships will be Nov. 21-22 at the Hudson Valley Sports Dome in Milton in Ulster County. The facility has been hosting meets throughout this fall season.
Seeding for the soccer tournaments, as well as field hockey, will be determined by the overall winning percentage of teams. Ties will be broken by head-to-head play first, followed by total wins. If the teams are still tied, a random draw will determine their placement. The higher seed will be the host team in all soccer and field hockey matches.
All teams, regardless of won-loss record, are eligible for the postseason.
In case of bad weather, Nov. 24-25 remain open dates — Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, is the last day fall championships can be decided.
“I think overall the fall season has been a great success,” Dobbs Ferry athletic director Andrew Klaich said. “The championship format allows our athletes to continue to compete against rival schools from within the section. The kids are excited, having fun, being physically active and socializing with their peers. This fall season has brought a bit of normalcy to their high school experience.”
“Our main priority this fall was to provide our athletes with a safe and enjoyable athletic experience,” Irvington athletic director John Buonamano said. “The fact that we will have an opportunity to have a culminating event is icing on the cake.”
“The championships are always a nice, fun way to end a season,” Hastings athletic director Drew Wendol said. “However, the main focus that was expressed with all the fall coaching staff throughout the season was to provide a fun, safe playing opportunity for all the players during this crazy pandemic. We had less focus on results and more on getting the student-athletes active out on the field, court, and course.”
He continued, “We understand that you always want to win, but with all the new regulations that everyone had to follow, anxiety and uncertainty of Covid pressures, constant shutdowns, and lack of the normal preseason training, etc., making it through the season safely was the number one focus.”