Boys lacrosse committee recommends expanded playoffs, new seeding criteria; league alignment also proposed

Steamboat Springs Air Academy boys lacrosse

(Chris Fehrm/Chris Fehrm Photography)

AURORA — The boys lacrosse committee recommended an expansion of the playoff fields in both 5A and 4A during the annual meeting this week.

Both fields currently qualify 16 teams to the postseason, but the committee voted to expand the bracket to 24 teams for two main reasons:

  • First, it brings the sport more in line with other sports, such as hockey, basketball and soccer, in terms of percentage of teams that qualify for the postseason.
  • And second, the new recommended league alignment has grouped a bunch of traditional powers together in order to help competitive balance during the regular season, similar to hockey's approach to leagues, and schools in the tougher leagues agreed to the new alignment on the condition that the field would be expanded.

"The big thing was lacrosse's percentage, at 16 teams, was the lowest percentage of the qualifiers," said CHSAA assistant commissioner Justin Saylor, who administers lacrosse.

With a 24-team bracket, the top eight seeds will receive first-round byes.

The committee also changed how the playoff bracket will be seeded, and will use the new CHSAA seeding index, which combines rankings data from the RPI standings, MaxPreps and the CHSAANow coaches poll. The same seeding criteria has been adopted by field hockey, volleyball and soccer this winter. Football led the way as a model when it used four criteria to seed its bracket last fall.

Among other changes is a semifinal event which will bring 4A and 5A together for both of their games. Those will now be played at one site, Legacy Stadium, on May 23 this coming season. The championship games are scheduled for May 26 at DU. That change was announced in November.

"I think the 4A/5A semifinal will be a huge event," Saylor said.

Higher-seeded teams will host playoff rounds through the quarterfinals, which is a change for 5A. Previously, the quarterfinals were hosted at a neutral site.

The proposed league alignment, which will be used in the 2021 and 2022 seasons, was given a vote of approval by the committee. It culminated months of work on the league structure, which began during a meeting of dozens of athletic directors at Grandview High School in December.

"A lot of the work was done in meetings and discussions with athletic directors," Saylor said. "We had a great discussion at Grandview in December which really made it easy to get their work done at the meeting in January."

As is the case with all committee reports, the recommendations from the boys lacrosse committee must be approved by the Legislative Council during its April meeting.

Proposed boys lacrosse alignment

Class 4A

Foothills
Air Academy
Bear Creek
Conifer
Denver South
Evergreen
Golden
Green Mountain
Metro
Bishop Machebeuf
Clear Creek
Denver North
Englewood
George Washington
Northfield
Rangeview
Northern
Dawson
Erie
Holy Family
Jefferson Academy
Thompson Valley
Windsor
Cheyenne Mountain
Southern
Littleton
Lutheran
Palmer
Ponderosa
Pueblo West
St. Mary's
Thomas Jefferson
Fountain Valley (JV Only)
Western
Aspen
Battle Mountain
Eagle Valley
Steamboat Springs
Summit
Vail Mountain
Mountain
Durango
Montrose
Telluride
Glenwood Springs
Fruita Monument
Grand Junction
Crested Butte (JV Only)

Class 5A

League #1
Boulder
Douglas County
Eaglecrest
Lewis Palmer
Mullen
Overland
Pine Creek
Prairie View
Smoky Hill
League #2
Chatfield
Columbine
Dakota Ridge
Fairview
Lakewood
Monarch
Mountain Range
Ralston Valley
Rocky Mountain
League #3
Castle View
Chaparral
Highlands Ranch
Legend
Mountain Vista
Regis Jesuit
Rock Canyon
ThunderRidge
Valor Christian
League #4
Arapahoe
Cherry Creek
Cherokee Trail
Colorado Academy
Denver East
Grandview
Heritage
Kent Denver