Fresh off a successful volleyball tournament, the CHSAA committee directing the sport announced a couple of changes that could go into effect for next year. The first involves the elimination of the 1A district tournaments as that class will join the other four in heading straight into the regional round. A second change involves additional seeding criteria that will include other rankings from MaxPreps and CHSAA to go along with RPI to place teams in post-season brackets.
In a nutshell, we applaud both changes. While district tournaments served as a revenue generator for local school districts, they rarely produced surprising results. So eliminating them won’t prevent quality teams from reaching the state tournament.
This season, each district sent three teams to regional tournaments and only four teams outside the top three seeds advanced. And no club seeded lower than fourth advanced. Two of those clubs, Wiley & Haxtun, advanced all the way to the state tournament. Only one top district seed failed to qualify; Mile High Academy from District 8.
Utilizing additional criteria to seed teams in the bracket is also a great move. Other polls such as MaxPreps, Packard and the CHSAA coaches were added to RPI to seed the football playoff brackets and while still in progress, those seeds seem to be holding true. In Classes 1A and 2A, three of the top four seeds have advanced to the semifinals. And in Class 3A, the top eight seeds all picked up first round wins. In 4A, Heritage was the only team outside the top nine to produce an opening victory while in 5A, all eight teams still alive started the bracket seeded in the top 10. With additional data points being used in volleyball, we should see similar results in future brackets.
Now looking farther down the road, there are a couple of changes we would also like to see. The first deals with Class 1A as even though they’re going right into regionals, the format is still slightly different from 2A-5A. Instead of 12 regionals and 36 qualifiers, Class 1A will remain with eight regionals and limit to 24 qualifiers. As a result, they will still keep wildcard selections for the state tournament in place. That’s a good thing, but I would like to see those four wildcard selections seeded 9th through 12th in the state bracket. That thought goes back to our philosophy of rewarding winning teams. Teams that capture regional titles should be seeded 1-8 with the wildcards placed in the lowest four spots.
A second change involves shortening the season by one week and moving the state tournament up one week as well. When district tournaments were eliminated in Classes 2A-5A, the regular season was extended one more week so the post-season (regionals & state) would still match up with Class 1A. Now that 1A is taking out their district round, let’s consider moving the post-season up one week.
You may ask why? It involves getting ready for basketball. Volleyball ends on a Saturday night but basketball practice can begin the following Monday. That tight schedule impacts the smaller schools especially hard. Many athletes that play for the top volleyball teams will also be leaders of the basketball clubs so they have a very short turnaround. We spoke with several basketball coaches at the volleyball championships and they were spending quite a bit of time trying to decide when to open practice or when to “hit it hard”.
If we move up the volleyball season up one week, then all players who want to compete in basketball will have a week off between the two seasons. It will allow those players to celebrate a successful volleyball campaign and rest the body a bit before beginning the basketball run. We all want high school athletes to compete in more than one sport and by setting up a dead week, maybe we can get more involvement.
This may also affect the bigger school volleyball players who must quickly turn around and compete for spots on club teams the next day or Monday following the state tournament. By moving up the season, this also gives them a nice break between the two seasons.
This goal can also be accomplished by starting the winter sports season one week later as well. Either way, there seems to be enough time in the regular season to get in the suggested number of matches or games.
As always, we welcome your thoughts on our reaction and moves for the future. You can easily comment below this story or on our Facebook page. We can also be reached directly by email to [email protected] or by text at 970.380.7737.