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Archive for September 6, 2017

Sept. 6, 2017 — Mystique vs. progress

One of the unique aspects of the Delaware high-school field hockey tournament is that the tournament is just one bracket. It doesn’t matter whether you were a large or a small public school, a Catholic school, a prep school, or even a military academy — you had an equal chance of winning.

Last year, for example, a school representing a village of under 2,000 on the Delaware-Maryland border beat a private-school team which had won 18 state championships.

This year, however, the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association is, like neighboring Virginia and Pennsylvania, expanding its tournament to two divisions, split by size. Eight teams will play down to the Division I championship for larger schools, while a dozen berths are up for grabs for the smaller Division II schools.

It’s notable that last year’s state finalists — Delmar (Del.) and Wilmington Tower Hill (Del.), will both be playing in the Division II bracket. Division I will be dominated, I think, by Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) and Camden Caesar Rodney (Del.), but schools like The Charter School of Wilmington (Del.) and Dover (Del.) will have a chance to play for a state championship, something neither team has done very often.

Yes, the mystique of having one state championship without different classifications is something I’m going to miss from the First State. However, it’s a measure of progress that more teams are playing field hockey and are clamoring to make the postseason.