Commentary

Thrill of postseason title chases already underway

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The regular season has reached the midway point in high school football.

Although the postseason field won't be revealed until the OHSAA releases its final computer rankings Oct. 28, fans, players and coaches are beginning to look at playoff possibilities. Nobody has clinched a playoff berth, but perhaps more than half the teams in Ohio know they likely won't be playing in an 11th week.

With all that excitement building, what seems to be lost on many is the postseason already has begun.

That's right. The first of the postseason tournaments began Sept. 24 when Division II girls golf teams teed off in sectional competition, followed by Division II and Division III boys golf sectionals Sept. 25.

The Division I boys and girls golf sectionals will be held Tuesday, Oct. 2.

On the boys side, the top three seeds are Pickerington North, Dublin Jerome and Upper Arlington in Division I, Bexley, Watterson and Hartley in Division II and Wellington, Columbus Academy and Newark Catholic in Division III.

The top three seeds in the girls tournaments are Jerome, Dublin Coffman and Pickerington North in Division I and Bexley, Licking Valley and Centerburg in Division II.

This week began the most exciting time of the fall season. There are numerous sports to watch.

If the only sport you've seen this fall is football, why not check out a different sport and support those athletes? Other sports will compete in their tournaments on Mondays through Thursdays and sometimes on Saturdays.

The girls tennis postseason begins with sectionals Oct. 4. Jerome, New Albany, UA, Academy, Columbus School for Girls and DeSales are among the area's top teams, with several individuals lobbying to reach the state tournament.

Will the hard work during those 90-plus degree days during the summer pay off?

Soccer teams will be able to answer that question when the first round of the district tournament begins in mid-October. The girls tournaments for Divisions II and III begin Oct. 15, with Division I opening the following day. The boys tournament begins Oct. 16 in Division II, followed by Division I and Division III on Oct. 17.

Olentangy Liberty, DeSales and Worthington Christian were among state-ranked boys teams last week, and the girls teams from Coffman, Jerome and DeSales had a solid footing in the state polls.

Want to stay indoors? Perhaps it's raining or chilly. Why not attend the lone indoor sport in the fall?

Girls volleyball tournaments begin Oct. 15, with Divisions I and IV. Division II starts on Oct. 16, followed by Division III the next day.

Pickerington North is the standout team in Division I and was ranked in the state poll last week, with Coffman not far behind. DeSales, defending state champion Hartley and Hilliard Bradley were ranked in Division II. Ready and Heath in Division III and annual powers Newark Catholic and Shekinah Christian in Division IV are among the area's top teams.

All of those teams and individuals are hoping to make long postseason runs, but none more so than the 1,000-plus runners who will converge on Watkins Memorial for the district cross country races Oct. 20.

Hilliard Davidson, Westerville North, Jerome, New Albany and Liberty have been among the top teams in the boys Division I state poll. Granville and Bexley have been the top area boys teams in Division II.

For the girls, state-ranked teams included Davidson, Coffman, Dublin Scioto, UA and Liberty in Division I, Granville in Division II and Grandview and Academy in Division III.

The field hockey state qualifying tournament begins Oct. 15. Thomas Worthington is the defending state champion and Academy was a state semifinalist a year ago.

Football is the only high school sport in which every team is not guaranteed a chance to compete in the postseason. While that can increase a fan's fervor, the sectionals and first round of district play in all other sports serve as a new season.

The paring of tournament fields is exciting no matter what sport is being contested, as the state looks to award the best of the best.

Get out and support one of the teams in your community, in addition to the football team.

And let's hope the Central District can find a whole lot of success again this postseason.

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