COVID-19 forces more adaptation
Classification, playoff changes come to winter sports
The winter sports playoff and classification structure will look much different this year due to COVID-19.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) recently announced multiple changes, district assignments for basketball and wrestling and class assignments for swimming, along with different playoff formats.
Notably among the list are several area teams bumped up a classification, including Monett, going from Class 4 to Class 5.
Basketball has expanded from five classes to six this year.
The Show-Me Showdowns, along with the semifinal and final rounds of the state tournaments, are scheduled March 11-13 for classes 1-3 and March 18-20 for classes 4-6 in Springfield. Games will be played at the JQH Arena and Hammons Student Center on the Missouri State campus.
But, there is a different path to the state semifinals this year.
There are still 16 district tournaments in each class, but instead of the district being played at one site, the higher-seeded team will be the host for each round the same format used for the football playoffs.
And the sectional and quarterfinal games in the state tournament will be played at one of the participating schools, based on the combination of number of previous games hosted and position on the bracket.
In past years, the sectional and quarterfinal games were played at a predetermined site. So, it is possible that a school wins both the girls and boys district titles, but its teams could play sectional games at different locations.
Wrestling remains four classes for boys and one for girls, but thats about the only similarity to last season.
The number of boys districts has been doubled from four to eight. Fewer wrestlers and coaches in each district not only helps with safety but also could make it possible for fans to attend.
The top-four finishers in each weight class at districts will not qualify for the state tournament. Instead, they will advance to a sectional tournament, which will have eight-man brackets determined from two districts. The top-three finishers at sectionals advance to the state meet.
Three qualifiers from four sectionals produce a 12-man bracket instead of a 16-man bracket. And the 12-man bracket is a must because there will be four one-day state tournaments.
Instead of the popular three-day state tournament comprised of all four classes, each class will have a one-day tournament. The site or sites for these tournaments have not been finalized. It could be four tournaments in four days at Mizzou Arena, which has hosted previous state tourneys, or tournaments could be held at different sites.
One thing the one-day tournaments will do is reduce expenses for teams and fans.
Girls wrestling is again one class, and teams have been divided into eight districts ranging in size from 17-29 teams.
It follows the same structure as the boys, with the top-four finishers at districts advancing to sectionals, and the top-three finishers at sectionals earning a spot in their separate one-day state tournament.
Swimming and diving
The class assignments for area teams have Joplin and Carthage in Class 2 and Thomas Jefferson, Webb City, Carl Junction, Monett, Lamar and Nevada in Class 1.
The state championships at the St. Peters Rec-Plex natatorium will be held in the same manner that the boys championships were conducted last fall.
Each class will have its own one-day competition, with diving in the morning and swimming in the afternoon. There will be 24 entries in each event.
There will not be any spectators in order to socially distance the teams.
District assignments for area teams for basketball and swimming include:
Class 5, District 11 McDonald County, Monett, Neosho, Rogersville
Class 4, District 12 Aurora, Cassville, East Newton, Mount Vernon, Reeds Spring, Seneca
Class 4, District 13 Lamar, Barstow, Clinton, El Dorado Springs, Holden, Pleasant Hill
Class 3, District 12 Diamond, Miller, Pierce City, Purdy, Sarcoxie, Southwest
Class 2, District 12 College Heights Christian, Greenfield, Jasper, Liberal, Verona, Wheaton
Class 1, District 6 Dadeville, Everton, Fair Play, Golden City, Humansville, Lockwood, Walnut Grove
Class 1, District 4 Bradleyville, Chadwick, Exeter, Hurley, Lutie, Niangua, School of the Ozarks
Class 4, District 5 Carthage. Joplin, Kickapoo, Nixa, Ozark, Republic, Springfield Central, Waynesville
Class 3, District 6 Carl Junction, Hillcrest, McDonald County, Neosho, Parkview, Webb City, Willard
Class 2, District 5 Buffalo, Cassville, Hollister, Monett, Reeds Spring, Rogersville, Seneca
Class 2, District 6 Nevada, Center, Clinton, Eldon, Harrisonville, Osage, Pleasant Hill
Class 1, District 4 Diamond, Adrian, Butler, El Dorado Springs, Holden, Lone Jack, Shewood
One Class, District 5 Carl Junction, Cassville, Diamond, Joplin, McDonald County, Monett, Neosho, Seneca, Webb City, Branson, Glendale, Hillcrest, Kickapoo, Lebanon, Marshfield, Nixa, Parkview, Reeds Spring, Republic, Springfield Central, West Plains, Willard.