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VHSL adopts ‘Championships + 1’ schedule

Public school student-athletes from all sports in the area will have the opportunity to play for a state championship during the 2020-21 school year.

The Virginia High School League (VHSL) Executive Committee, meeting in special session Thursday, Sept. 17, voted unanimously to adopt the “Championships + 1” schedule for the Fiscal Year 2021 athletic and academic activities season.

This vote comes during a calendar year in which every sport was either canceled, postponed or otherwise impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christopher Holt

Following is a summary of the “Championships + 1” Condensed Interscholastic Plan:

• Season 1 (Winter) Dec. 7-Feb. 20 (First contest date — Dec. 21) – basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swimming and diving, wrestling

• Season 2 (Fall) Feb. 4-May 1 (First contest date — March 1) – competition cheerleading, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, volleyball

• Season 3 (Spring) April 12-June 26 (First contest date — April 26) – baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field

• Academic activities (December-June) – theatre, Scholastic Bowl, forensics, debate, robotics, film festival, creative writing, publications evaluation and multimedia contest

For fall sports, the adopted calendar lists football in spring 2021 as featuring a six-game regular season. The first practice is allowed Feb. 4, and the first game is allowed Feb. 22 (it is March 1 for all other fall sports). Regional tournament periods will start April 7 with a completion deadline of April 17. The VHSL state semifinals will take place April 24, with the state championship games following on May 1.

For winter sports, the adopted calendar lists boys and girls basketball regular seasons as being composed of 14 games. The first practice will be allowed Dec. 7; the first game will be allowed Dec. 21; the regional tournament period start date will be Feb. 8 with a completion deadline of Feb. 13; state semifinals will be Feb. 16; and state finals will be Feb. 20.

For spring sports, the adopted calendar lists baseball and softball regular seasons as being composed of 12 games. The first practice will be allowed April 12; the first game will be allowed April 26; the regional tourney period start date will be June 14 with a completion deadline of June 19; state semifinals will be June 22; and state finals will be June 26.

To see the full “Championships + 1” schedule and details, visit www.vhsl.com.

“I’m thankful that all of our sports and all of our activities, it appears, are going to occur and that students will be able to get back to doing those things that they’re passionate about outside of just the academic piece,” Randolph-Henry High School Director of Athletics and Assistant Principal Christopher Holt said.

He noted he is excited Statesmen student-athletes are going to get to compete, potentially make regional tournaments and that state champions will be awarded.

“I know it’s a shortened version of what we usually see in seasons, but at this point, I think just seeing kids play again is going to be the joy in all of this and not so much what the end result is,” he said.

Holt said he thought the “Championships + 1” schedule was more than just the best option given the circumstances.

“I think the fact that it appears that everyone will get to play and everyone will get to play what amounts to pretty much an equal amount of time, whichever season you’re in, I think it was the best option out there, and a good option,” he said. “I think it was a good option.”