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Commentary: Blood gets boiling (again) over field hockey tournament

BY RANDY McROBERTS, rmcroberts@theaegis.com

11:15 AM EDT, October 23, 2012

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I know I wrote about this a year ago at this time, but having it come around again just gets me fired up again.

I'm referring to the mess the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) has made of the field hockey region/state tournaments.

Let's cut right to the point.

There are 197 MPSSAA schools listed in the 2012 Fall State Tournament Bulletin. A quick count finds a total of 122 teams scheduled to participate in the tournaments. That's 24 schools in 4A, 33 schools in 3A, 32 schools in 2A and 33 schools in 1A.

Now, taking a little closer look at the 1A field, this is what I found.

Of the 33 teams listed, less than half, 16 to be exact, is how many are bona fide 1A teams in the field. So, I ask, how can this be a 1A state tournament when more than half are 2A schools?

Now, as you move up, the problem continues, although I'm not sure of what degree. This I do know, though: the 2A tourney is riddled with 3A teams and the 3A tourney is peppered with 4A schools.

So, the reality is, 4A schools in the right tournament, all 24 of them, are actually going to determine a true champion. Well, that is if one of the dropped 4A teams doesn't win the 3A title.

For years, boys and girls lacrosse teams have been battling in three divisions when region and state tournament play comes around. The divisions are broken down in 1A-2A, 2A-3A and 3A-4A increments and I, for one, think that's the right thing to do.

The day might be coming that lacrosse can be a full, four classification tournament. If that happens, I'm sure it would be a welcome change.

So, again I have to ask, why can't the field hockey take a step back and play in three divisions? Heck, why can't they just leave the classifications alone? Take the 16 1A schools, which range from Frederick County to Worcester, and play a series of three Saturdays or so and let's have a true 1A state champion.

A year ago, Fallston won the 1A state title and there should be no shame in that for the Cougars, who got the job done.

The Cougars and 16 other 2A schools are in that predicament again this year. No one knows what's going to happen, but should we see a repeat of last year and watch a 2A school win a 1A state title and so on in the upper classifications, I hope someone takes note and realizes this is not right.

Regardless of that, congrats to the C. Milton Wright field hockey team on its first UCBAC title last week. The Mustangs, a legitimate 3A school playing in the 3A tourney, are primed for a run.

Good luck to the Mustangs and all teams in Harford County as the post-season rolls on.