Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

June 9, 2019 — A convergence of championships

Over the weekend, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association crowned four champions for its public-school divisions. In all four, a team from Long Island — either Nassau (Section 8) or Suffolk (Section 11) — won the state crown.

In Class A, Suffolk County champions Northport (N.Y.), had sent a message to the field in 10-goalling Farmingdale (N.Y.) and Pittsford (N.Y.) on the way to the final, then found a way to get by Baldwinsville Charles W. Baker (N.Y.) 10-8 in the title game.

Class B also had a Section 11 winner in Eastport-South Manor (N.Y.) as it beat Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.) 9-7. ESM also had a not-unsubstantial win on the way to the final as it had to get by Canandaigua (N.Y.) Academy in the state semifinal.

Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.), representing Nassau County, took the Class C title with an 11-8 win over Cross River John Jay (N.Y.). CSH found the Long Island portion of its bracket substantially more difficult than the rest of the tournament, in that it had to get by Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.) 5-4 in the state quarterfinal.

In the small-school Class D final, it was the co-op Mattituck/Southold (N.Y.) side besting Bronxville (N.Y.) 11-7. Like Cold Spring Harbor, the Tuckers found the most substantial competition on Long Island, as it only escaped the state quarterfinal with a 9-8 win over Carle Place (N.Y.).

With these four wins, plus the independent-school tournament win by South Huntington St. Anthony (N.Y.) a few weeks ago, Long Island is now the de facto center of girls’ high-school lacrosse in the Empire State.

Which begs the question: should the NYSPHSAA redo its brackets so that the top-ranked teams in each of the four classes don’t knock each other out before the final?

I’m not so sure that could ever work. First of all, if you mandate such a system for girls’ lacrosse, you have to make the mandate stand for everything from baseball to football to swimming. For most team sports in New York, it’s one representative per section.

There’s geography to bear in mind as well. A bus trip from, say, Southampton (located way out on Long Island) to Clarence High School in Buffalo could take anywhere from five to seven hours depending on traffic.

It’s an imperfect system, but I can’t see New York adopting Maryland’s seeding system in order to keep regional rivals from meeting each other before the state tournament, no matter how good the teams are in comparison to the rest of the state.

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