Field hockey playoff format changed
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Wyoming Country Press Examiner
This year, District II Class AA field hockey has gone to a new a new division system, boiling competition down to two divisions.
Prior to the 2012 season, Class AA and AAA teams were split up into a combined three division system.
However, the issue was according to District II committee member Chris Gegaris, there was a lack of equity for the Class AA teams with the old system.
He said because teams in the old Division 1 and 2 played each other anyway, it made more sense to combine them.
The old Division 3, now referred to as Division 2, which contained Northwest Area, Elk Lake, Pittston Area, GAR, Hanover Area, Tunkhannock, Berwick and Montrose, remains mostly unchanged except for the addition of Meyers.
All of the teams in Division 2 are Class AA teams. In the newly created Division I is a mixture of Class AA and AAA teams.
The Class AAA teams in Division 1 are Coughlin, Wyoming Valley West, Honesdale, Hazleton, Lackawanna Trail, Delaware Valley and Wallenpaupack.
Class AA teams are Holy Redeemer, Crestwood, Wyoming Seminary, Dallas, Lake-Lehman, Wyoming Area, Abington Heights and Nanticoke.
At the end of the regular season, eight teams will enter into the Class AA district playoffs with the top seven teams from Division 1 entering, and the winner of Division 2 entering as the eighth seed.
While on its face, this may seem unfair to Division 2, Gegaris said that all teams in Division 2 can opt to play in Division 1.
“Division 2 is set up for developing teams that are up and coming,” Gegaris said. “If they choose, they can opt to compete in Division 1.”
He said that the second division affords upcoming teams the chance to earn a division title, and then go on to compete in district playoffs.
“The committee took a long, hard look at this and we feel there is more of a choice for teams with the new format,” Gegaris said. “But what we’ve learned is that there is no perfect way. Eventually you will have to play against highly competitive programs.”
He noted that with the three division system which took two teams to Districts, he said that the first seed from Division 3 rarely made it through the first round of district play, and that the second team from Division 3 had to play a play-in game that usually resulted in elimination from contention.
“The league determined this new format almost unanimously, and I support that decision. I feel it’s the best way,” Gegaris said. “It wasn’t just something that was thrown out to see if it stuck. There was a long analysis before the decision was made.”
Gegaris said that teams within District II, regardless of division, should feel proud to play in the district.
“District II is widely considered one of the most competitive in the state for field hockey,” Gegaris said. “And any team should feel proud to play in District II.”