AURORA — As girls lacrosse prepares to head into a new two-classification setup in 2021, the sport's committee created the structure for that new format this week.
The Legislative Council voted to approve a second classification of girls lacrosse last April, so Wednesday's meeting was spent determining how exactly to accomplish that, including the actual task of classifying teams. The committee's main aim was to continue to help the sport grow, which was also the goal of the creation of a second classification.
So the committee did its best to put similar teams in each classification, and they primarily used the criteria as laid out in bylaw 1500.21 to do so, while keeping an eye on geography.
"We tried to pair like schools as opposed to traditional enrollment numbers," said CHSAA assistant commissioner Adam Bright, who oversees girls lacrosse. "We looked at three-year RPI and three-year winning percentage. In the data we looked at there was a clear dividing line once you got it around 20-25 schools."
The end result was 21 teams in Class 5A and 38 in 4A.
The committee also created a league alignment structure and a postseason format.
"We had our lacrosse roundtable meeting last fall, so it was a collaborative process not only with the community but representatives from a majority of the lacrosse schools," Bright said.
The 5A bracket will be a 16-team format, and 4A's will be 20 teams. Of the 20 postseason qualifiers in the 2019 single-classification state tournament, 14 will be in 5A, and six in 4A.
"The overall goal is to see an increase in student participation, and by pairing like schools and creating more opportunities for postseason success, the hope is that it will be one key factor in growing the sport," Bright said.
Already, the addition of a 4A classification has led to the addition of four new varsity programs.
To seed the tournaments, each classification will use the new CHSAA seeding index, combining rankings from the RPI standings, the MaxPreps rankings and the CHSAANow coaches poll. A wide swath of sports have moved to the new seeding philosophy, including volleyball, soccer, field hockey and boys lacrosse. Football started the movement by using a similar approach this past fall.
Proposed girls lacrosse league alignment
Note: In the Mountain East and Mountain West leagues, Mountain East has guaranteed Mountain West two crossover games.