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3A, 2A get their own dates at track final

The PIAA will hold its track and field championships a bit differently this year. Athletes from Class 2A schools will compete in a one-day event at Shippensburg University on Friday, May 28, and the qualifying athletes from Class 3A will compete in a one-day event on Saturday, May 29.

Some preliminary events will be eliminated due to the time crunch.

“Double-A will be contested Friday of Memorial Day weekend and 3A will be held Saturday with an identical schedule,” PIAA Chief Operating Officer Mark Byers said. “There are some breaks provided in the schedule and some preliminary events only specific to the sprints, the high hurdles, the 100- and 200-meter dash, but the rest of the events will be run as timed finals run in sections.”

The schedule that was approved at Wednesday’s board meeting begins with the 3,200-meter run, girls high jump and boys long jump at 9 a.m., and the day will conclude at 3:30 p.m. with the 1,600-meter relay.

Because the track and field season was wiped out last year, the PIAA said it was a priority to include as many athletes as usual for the championships.

“We’ll have a standard fare, the automatic qualifiers plus those who reach the qualifying standard,” PIAA Executive Director Robert Lombardi said. “We feel that number is manageable and based on the average of the last few years, it will be about 1,300 per day. We believe we can handle that with the number of rooms that Shippensburg is going to provide us as well as the time schedule.”

The current plan is for two spectators for each qualifier, meaning about 2,600 people could attend the event. Lombardi said the idea is to keep the total number of people at the complex below 5,000 each day.

Spring brackets

Lombardi said the PIAA is still hoping to do complete state playoff brackets for baseball, softball, boys tennis and boys volleyball, not just champion-only tournaments like basketball and wrestling. But that final decision won’t come until the PIAA meets with each district in the upcoming month.

“We’ll travel around to the districts and will do our best to speak to some of them to see if some of their schools would open their facilities for mid-way games,” Lombardi said. “That could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back so to speak. If we have schools willing to host games, we’d like to do everything we can to get full qualifiers and bracketing for the spring.”

SUBHED: Possible hoops change

Bishop Guilfoyle’s girls basketball team defeated Rochester on Tuesday in the PIAA Class 1A semifinals before beating Jenkintown in the state final that same Friday.

Teams in the same situation next year might get a longer gap between games.

“We would move the first round to Tuesday and Wednesday in our proposal,” PIAA Assistant Executive Director Jennifer Grassel said. “The reasoning for that is that a lot of times, in the semifinal matchup, that’s where the cross-state travel happens, and having that game Monday or Tuesday with a quick turnaround for championships can sometimes be problematic. Shifting the first round would allow for the semifinals to take place the Friday and Saturday before the finals.

“We would also group the classifications together in our proposal. The reason it has been different the past few years it because it depends on who played Monday or Tuesday, but with moving the dates, we could play 1A girls and 1A boys both on Thursday and so on.”

Board member Michael Barber expressed concern about districts holding championship games on the Saturday before the first round of state playoffs and the possibility of bad weather leading to a postponement that could lead to conflicts.

As a result, a vote on the proposal was tabled to the PIAA’s summer meeting at Penn State.

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