KSHSAA’s Sunset Saturday

Today is the end of the season for most high school volleyball players and cross country runners across Kansas.

For a select few, the season continues for one more week.

It’s regional cross country/sub-state volleyball Saturday.

The cross country format is fine, although I believe too many teams get to qualify for state. There should be a formula where the teams with the lowest average times, no matter what regional that team is in, should advance to state, not just the best three (Classes 2A-6A) or four (1A) from each regional.The meet timing software in use should be able to do that very easily, or what would be the harm until waiting until Sunday afternoon to find out which teams are going?

Twelve teams, especially in 6A and 5A, which have only 32 schools each, are too many. It ought to be reduced to eight. Twelve out of 64 in 2A, 3A and 4A probably is okay, but there are too many schools in 1A which can’t field complete teams, and some teams which finish third or fourth in their regoinals get to go simply because they were one of the only three or four schools with enough runners to post a team score. Class 1A teams need four runners to post a team score; five are required in 2A through 6A.

The volleyball sub-state format sucks. IT SUCKS. It should have been changed ages ago, but it has been the same since 1992, save for Classes 1A (2010) and 4A (2013) splitting into two divisions.

First, I have never understood why the hell the Kansas State High School Activities Associatoin insists on volleyball sub-states being played on the same day as the ACT test nationwide. Why? Why in the hell should some girls have the added pressure of a high-stakes test, which could very well determine whether or not a young lady gets accepted to her first choice university/college, or some be forced to miss the test because their team has to travel a long way for sub-state?

By insisting sub-states be played on the same day as an ACT test, they can’t start until the afternoon, putting some teams on the road very, very late at night. The good news about Lakin is there are two courts, meaning the play will go faster. If there was only one court, TMP would be getting back to Hays no earlier than 10:30, probably later. I remember not getting home from Norton until 12:05 a.m. when it hosted sub-state in 2007. The trip between Russell and Norton is bad enough in the daylight. At night, following a very long day, and at an ungodly hour, makes it harrowing.

Why can’t the KSHSAA extend the volleyball season an extra week and hold sub-state on the weekend after the ACT test? Or better yet, hold the sub-states on Wednesday and/or Thursday.

Second, why are sub-states single elimination? The state tournament, and most in-season tournaments, have pool play before cutting down to four teams, meaning schools usually get at least three matches, sometimes four, as in the case of the Mid-Continent League tournament. Why is the KSHSAA changing the format at the most important time of the season? One bad match should not ruin a fine season. TMP had it happen last year when it lost to Beloit in the sub-state final. If the Monarchs lose to Lakin or Norton in the final (or earlier), then Natausha Dreher and her players might consider the season a failure, even though they might have finished 36-3.

Missouri is the same way as Kansas, although there is a second single-elimination layer which is being played today. Only four schools from each class advance to the state tournament in Cape Girardeau next weekend.

I’m not a fan of Louisiana’s playoff format, but at least it’s all single elimination. None of this hybrid crap.

KSHSAA could easily do pool play in sub-state. Hold the pools Wednesday and/or Thursday at the top two seeds in the sub-state. Then hold the semifinals and final at a neutral site, or in the gym of the highest seed.If KSHSAA would move the sub-states off the ACT test date, it could be done in one day beginning at 9 a.m. It might limit the number of schools which could host, but so what?

One of KSHSAA’s biggest problems is it tries to have too many sites host tournaments. If a given regional or sub-state is at the same school every stinking year, I don’t see a problem. If the site is centrally located, it’s much better than spreading the wealth and picking some faraway place. Lakin is pretty far out there, but it could be worse, like Syracuse or Hugoton. Cimarron would have been a better choice in this case. Lakin has a very nice gym and does well hosting, it’s just a drive for schools like Norton and TMP, not to mention your intrepid blogger. The good news is I’m alone and can do what I please, so I could stay in Garden City.

The state volleyball tournaments–eight in all–are at four sites. Too many classes (five would be better) and too many sites (ONE). Topeka for 5A and 6A, Salina for both 4A divisions, Emporia (EW!) for 2A and 3A, and Hays for both 1A divisions.

Cross country will be six state meets split between three sites. Classes 3A, 5A and 6A have the honor of running on the beautiful course at Rim Rock Farm north of Lawrence. The kiddies in 1A, 2A and 4A are relegated to the B-grade site, Wamego Country Club. It smells worse than the meat packing plants of Garden City. Why can’t KSHSAA hold the meets over two days? If one site is good enough for track and field, why can’t it work for cross country? Move EVERYTHING to Rim Rock. Please.

I’m getting ready to leave the hotel. I have a couple of stops to make in GC before heading west on US 50. First matches start at 2, although Norton doesn’t play until 3, or a few minutes thereafter. I like to be early. That’s a problem sometimes.

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on October 22, 2016, in KSHSAA and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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