CHESHIRE — Back in August, when the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference first announced its plan to hold high school sports this fall, the organization said the season would end with a “tournament experience.”
While the CIAC has since decided it won’t stage the traditional state tournaments, leagues across Connecticut have taken the initiative to provide their teams the opportunity to play for championships.
On Wednesday, the Southern Connecticut Conference Board of Governors approved a tournament format for cross country, girls swimming and diving, field hockey, boys and girls soccer, and girls volleyball.
The Central Connecticut Conference is expected to unveil its postseason plans on Thursday.
“When we first started talking about the fall season back in May, we knew we were going to have to plan championships like we’ve never done before,” SCC Commissioner Al Carbone said Wednesday.
Since the CIAC has emphasized regional play during the regular season to limit travel and the possible spread of coronavirus, the organization allowed leagues to develop postseason proposals. The SCC met with its governing body on Oct. 6 and the tournament plan that resulted was approved by league athletic directors on Oct. 9.
On Wednesday, the SCC received the go ahead from the principals of its member schools, which include Cheshire, Sheehan and Lyman Hall.
On the topic of spectators, the league decided it would hold off making a decision until probably the first week of November.
“We want to wait and see what the school policies will be closer to the tournaments,” said Carbone. “We will work with the schools."
In the SCC plan, all teams qualify for the postseason. Field hockey, volleyball, and soccer teams will have divisional playoffs, with the higher seeds hosting first round and semifinal matchups. For teams that lose before the finals, Carbone said, the league will ask if they’d like to keep playing against other teams.
Carbone added that the SCC is working on getting sites for the title games.
“I hope that they are at neutral sites, but it will depend on what is available,” stated Carbone. “We will do the best we can with it.”
For SCC cross country, teams will run in divisional races on Nov. 4 at East Shore Park in New Haven starting at 9:45 a.m.
Division team champions, along with the next two fastest teams and the top-eight individuals, will return to the same site on Nov. 11 for the SCC Championship. Those races will run at 1 and 2 p.m.
The swim and dive schedule presents the most challenges because it involves getting pool time. The SCC is planning on having a live diving meet on Nov. 6 or Nov. 7 at a site to be announced.
“We were told that we can have 16 divers compete with officials there,” said Carbone.
The swimming will be virtual, which is the format most teams are following this fall. There will be two division meets (Nov. 6 or Nov. 7) and a championship (Nov. 13 or 14).
Carbone said the SCC will probably do 16 swimmers per event for the finals.
“We want the swimmers and coaches to treat the divisions like a class meet and then have a State Open,” explained Carbone. “For the championship meet, we will try to get three or four pools. There will be schools without access to their pools, so we will work with them.”
For local teams, divisions are listed below by sport.
Cross Country Division D: Cheshire, Sheehan, Lyman Hall, Hamden, Mercy.
Swim & Dive Division A: Cheshire, Amity, North Haven, Daniel Hand, Lauralton Hall, Hamden, Mercy, Jonathan Law.
Swim & Dive Division B: Lyman Hall, Sheehan, East Haven/Wilbur Cross Co-Op, Branford, Foran, Guilford, Shelton, Sacred Heart Academy, West Haven.
Field Hockey Division A: Cheshire, Lyman Hall, Sheehan, Branford, Daniel Hand, Guilford, Mercy.
Girls’ Soccer Division A: Cheshire, Sheehan, Lyman Hall, Mercy, Sacred Heart Academy, North Haven.
Boys’ Soccer Division A: Cheshire, Sheehan, Lyman Hall, Xavier, Whitney Tech, Hamden, North Haven.
Girls’ Volleyball Division B: Sheehan, Lyman Hall, Cheshire, Mercy, North Haven, Sacred Heart Academy.
The area’s CCC schools — Maloney, Platt, and Southington — are working on their postseason plans. On Thursday at 10 a.m., the Central Connecticut Conference will hold a meeting to discuss options for the biggest league in the state.