The following letter was sent to: Ken Zorbach, Director of Athletics, Harford County Public Schools and Christopher Hersl, Director of Athletics, Cecil County Public Schools. A copy was provided for publication.
Recently, the Harford Tech girl's lacrosse team chose to concede the 2013 UCBAC Championship to C. Milton Wright and noted the disparity between the two divisions in choosing not to play the game. While reasonable people may disagree with Harford Tech's decision, I would suggest that it took some degree of courage and points at a basic flaw in the UCBAC setup.
In most sports, the UCBAC is currently divided into an upper (Chesapeake) and a lower (Susquehanna) division. At the end of the regular season, the winner of each division plays for the UCBAC championship. The reality is that the winner of the upper division has, with little or no exception, always won the UCBAC championship in every sport and usually by a lopsided margin. The current arrangement does a disservice to all of the teams involved. The prevailing team does not get the satisfaction of a hard fought league championship and the losing team is often embarrassed after a successful regular season. Unlike the bracket system for state playoffs where lower seeded teams often have to play higher seeded teams, this is a championship game where the best teams should be paired to decide the champion. One only needs to look to the recent Baltimore County girl's lacrosse championship in which Hereford defeated Catonsville, 13-12, in triple overtime to see what the UCBAC is missing out on.
The solution to this problem appears simple. At the conclusion of the season, the top two teams in each division should play each other for their respective division championships. This year, that setup would have resulted in a rematch between C. Milton Wright and North Harford in the Chesapeake division. This matchup was a well played, evenly matched game during the regular season and the championship game, with its added significance, would promise more of the same. The same can likely be said for the Susquehanna pairing. Such a proposal would be consistent with the A, B, & C conference setups for private schools in the MIAA as well as the Division System in college sports.
As a lacrosse official, I am witness to many lopsided games throughout the course of a season. These games often result in hard feelings and even injuries. The blame for this can go in several directions. On behalf of all of the players, coaches and supporters of high school athletics in Harford and Cecil County, I would strongly urge you to consider revising the current conference format in favor of a more competitive and meaningful championship.
Kevin J. Mahoney