WCIA — The IHSA officially added sectionals for both boys’ and girls’ cross country and golf on Wednesday. The Board of Directors approved the move at a special meeting. The IHSA originally planned to only conduct regionals for the four fall sports currently playing, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Despite the challenges of this school year, our Board has remained committed to providing the most rewarding postseason experiences possible,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “Given the relative success we have had safely conducting cross country and golf this fall, the Board asked our staff during the September Board meeting (September 14) to explore the possibility of expanding beyond Regionals to conduct Sectionals as well.”
No state tournament will be played. The golf sectionals will be held the week of Oct. 12-17. The top two regional teams will advance, along with the best four individual scores, not on a qualifying team.
The cross country sectionals will take place Oct. 29-31, with the five fastest teams moving on. No changes to the individual field will be implemented from the original format.
IHSA staff attempted to maintain COVID regions and keep participant levels as low as possible when making assignments, but in some cases, generally those involving schools on or near a COVID border, schools were assigned to a tournament outside of their COVID region.
“Given the timing, our greatest challenge will be finding hosts, especially in cross country,” said Anderson. “We have been granted exemptions to compete outside the COVID Regions in instances, for example, where assigning schools on or near a region border creates better balance in the number of participants at a site. Based on the feedback we have received, we expect some schools will choose not to participate beyond Regionals. We respect those decisions, but still want to provide as many opportunities as possible.”
There are no changes to the other two fall sports in season, girls’ tennis and girls’ swimming and diving, since their postseason starts with sectionals.