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HIGH SCHOOLS

Tracking all high school conference and league plans for the Fall I sports season, from Boston to the Berkshires

Jason Bettencourt, varsity assistant boys' soccer coach at Lowell High, addressed his players following new protocols on the first day of practice Sept. 18.
Jason Bettencourt, varsity assistant boys' soccer coach at Lowell High, addressed his players following new protocols on the first day of practice Sept. 18.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

The MIAA basketball and hockey finals were canceled.

The spring season never happened as the region continued to deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Determined to get high school athletes safely back on the field, athletic directors and league officials have worked overtime since mid-summer to create viable plans. Football, competitive cheer, and unified basketball already have been shifted to the new, floating season, Fall II (Feb. 22-April 25). For many, girls' volleyball, too.

But a number are taking a shot at the Fall I season. The situation remains fluid, but here’s an early look:

Eastern Mass.

Bay State Conference

▪ The BSC will operate out of Carey (Brookline, Natick, Newton North, Wellesley, plus Needham) and Herget (Braintree, Milton, Walpole, Weymouth) division pods, offering boys' and girls' soccer (games on Tuesday and Thursday), field hockey (Monday and Wednesday), cross-country (Wednesday), golf (depending on course availability), and girls' swimming and diving (virtual meets on Tuesdays and Fridays, with a 3-day window).

▪ With the city of Framingham still designated ‘red’ by DPH metrics for the coronavirus, the school district is moving athletics to Fall II.

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Boston City League

▪ With BPS high school students not returning to in-person classrooms until the week of Nov. 16, soccer, girls’ volleyball, and football were moved to the Fall II season. The school committee approved golf (for Boston Latin) along with cross-country (Boston Latin, and Boston City League program) for the Fall I season.

Cape Ann

▪ All schools moved girls' volleyball to Fall II.

▪ Golf is starting on Sept. 29, cross country is starting on Oct. 1, field hockey is starting on Oct. 2, and boys' and girls' soccer is starting on Oct. 3.

▪ Soccer and field hockey teams will play 10-game seasons, playing each Cape Ann League team once. A league tournament will be held for those sports at the conclusion of the regular season to determine the league champion.

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▪ Cross country and golf will have 5-9 races/matches

Cape & Islands

▪ With Nantucket in the ‘red’, and the Whalers not able to compete in MIAA play until Oct. 17 at the earliest, the school will shift to an all-inclusive island intramural format. Martha’s Vineyard is also shifting to Fall II because of COVID.

▪ Girls' volleyball and cheer have been moved to Fall II.

▪ C&I schedules will focus on Atlantic and Lighthouse divisional matchups, with occasional crossover games. Soccer on Tuesdays and Thursdays, field hockey on Monday and Wednesday, and cross-country on Tuesdays. No decision yet on an end-of-season tourney.

▪ Falmouth Academy will run cross-country, but is moving soccer to Fall II.

Catholic Central League

▪ With the city of Lynn designated ‘red’, St. Mary’s held its tryouts at Austin Prep, Bishop Fenwick, and Essex Tech. Soccer practices in Saugus and has held scrimmages at Woburn.

▪ Austin Prep delayed its in-person start to Tuesday, Sept. 29, which will mark the first day of athletic tryouts. Golf will be the first back, with a possible match on Oct. 6, followed by other sports on the 12th.

▪ Cardinal Spellman delayed practices to Friday, Sept. 25. Can start games 2 weeks after.

▪ Cathedral and Cristo Rey postponed all sports to Fall II.

▪ Saint Joseph Prep postponed volleyball to Fall II.

Catholic Conference

▪ Conference-only games for cross-country, golf, and soccer will begin Oct. 3.

▪ St. John’s High (Shrewsbury) has been added to the Fall I schedule, with the intent of becoming a full-time conference member in 2021-22.

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▪ Eight 75-minute out-of-season conditioning sessions (over 4 weeks) are scheduled for football.

▪ At St. John’s Prep, varsity practices are 90 minutes and subvarsity practices are 1 hour.

Commonwealth

▪ Girls' volleyball is moving to Fall II

▪ KIPP, Lynn Tech, Whittier Tech, Northeast, Greater Lawrence shifting all fall sports to Fall II.

▪ B/G Soccer: Essex Tech, Greater Lowell, Mystic Valley, Shawsheen, Lowell Catholic, Innovation Academy, Notre Dame-Tyngsboro.

▪ B/G cross-country: Essex Tech, Greater Lowell, Mystic Valley, Shawsheen, Lowell Catholic, Notre Dame-Tyngsboro, Nashoba Tech, Innovation Academy., Fellowship Academy.

▪ Golf: Essex Tech, Greater Lowell, Shawsheen, Lowell Catholic, Nashoba Tech (possibly Minuteman)

Dual County League

▪ Girls' volleyball and swimming moving to Fall II

▪ Large pod: Acton-Boxborough, Concord-Carlisle, Lincoln-Sudbury, Newton South, Westford.

▪ Small pod: Bedford, Boston Latin, Cambridge, Waltham, Wayland, and Weston.

▪ No soccer for Boston Latin.

▪ Varsity field hockey and soccer will have home & away matchups on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Sub-varsity games on Saturdays only, in addition to intramural once per week.

▪ Cross-country on Saturdays, and 2 golf matches (home & away) per week depending on course availability.

Greater Boston League

▪ All fall sports moving to Fall II

Hockomock League

▪ Five weeks of Davenport and Kelley-Rex divisional pod play starts Monday, Oct. 5, with boys' and girls' soccer (Monday and Wednesday, home and away), field hockey (Tuesday and Thursday, H/A), and cross-country (Tuesday, opposite field hockey site)

▪ At the end of the regular season, a mini-tourney will feature matchups of Davenport and Kelley-Rex leaders, second-place teams, third place, and so on.

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▪ King Philip delayed its start after a cluster of COVID-19 positive cases at a nursing home in Wrentham, but resumed practices on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

Mayflower Athletic Conference

▪ All sports moved to Fall II. West Bridgewater, however, received the OK to play in the Fall I season and will compete in the Southeast Conference with Bridgewater-Raynham, Brockton, Dartmouth, Durfee, and New Bedford.

Merrimack Valley Conference

▪ MVC is offering boys' and girls' cross-country, field hockey, golf, boys' and girls' soccer, and girls' volleyball, with matchups between the same schools on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Golf matches will be determined by course availability.

▪ With a lack of facilities, girls' swimming has been moved to Fall II.

▪ Football conditioning practices.

▪ For schedules: https://www.merrimackvalleyconferencema.org/

Middlesex League

▪ League is offering a 10-game varsity schedule and 8-game nonvarsity schedule for boys' and girls' soccer, and field hockey. There will be a 5-meet schedule for XC and modified scheduled for golf. Volleyball pushed to Fall II.

▪ Games take place on Saturdays from Oct. 3 to Nov. 21 with students providing their own transportation. Only one spectator allowed per athlete.

▪ Schools play home-and-away sets over a two-week period. Example, Woburn and Lexington play all three team sports against each other on both Oct. 3 and Oct. 10.

▪ Schedules based on divisions. Freedom League (Burlington, Melrose, Stoneham, Wakefield, Watertown, Wilmington) and Liberty League (Arlington, Belmont, Lexington, Reading, Winchester, Woburn). No postseason planned.

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▪ Varsity sports are limited to three practices per week, JV to two practices per week.

Northeastern Conference

▪ On Aug. 26, the principals from the NEC’s 12 schools voted to move fall sports to Fall II. However, after pushback from student-athletes, coaches, and town officials, Peabody, Swampscott, Marblehead, Salem, Danvers, Beverly, Masconomet, and Gloucester received approval from their respective school committees to play sports.

▪ Practices started Sept. 21, except for Danvers (Oct. 2).

▪ Beverly, Peabody, and Swampscott will move girls' volleyball to Fall II.

▪ With Lynn in the ‘red’, Classical and English moved to Fall II.

▪ Winthrop is currently ‘red’ communities, and waiting on further guidance.

▪ Saugus moved of the ‘red’ on Sept. 30 and will field soccer, field hockey, and golf in Fall I, with tryouts scheduled for Oct. 10. Football, girls' volleyball, and cross-country moved to Fall II.

Patriot League

▪ Practices for cross-country, field hockey, golf, girls' volleyball, and soccer started Sept. 18. Each school will play 11 league-only regular-season games/matches, with golf teeing off on Thursday, Sept. 24. Football and cheer were moved to Fall II.

▪ Notre Dame-Hingham will join the league schedule for field hockey, girls' soccer, and girls' volleyball.

▪ Boys' and girls' cross-country meets will be run on separate days.

▪ Schools will play for the Patriot Cup at the end of the regular season.

South Coast

▪ All fall sports moved to Fall II

Southeast Conference

▪ The five programs in the SEC, Brockton, Bridgewater-Raynham, Dartmouth, Durfee and New Bedford, along with West Bridgewater (Mayflower Athletic Conference), will form a six-school pod for the fall, offering cross-country, field hockey, golf, soccer, and girls' volleyball started Sept. 18 and 21. The Mayflower had pushed all sports to Fall II.

▪ Competition will run from October 6 to November 20.

South Shore

▪ Preseason for cross-country, field hockey, golf, and soccer began Sept. 25.

▪ Competitive cheer, football, and girls' volleyball moved to Fall II.

Tri-Valley League

▪ The TVL has set up two six-school pods for boys' and girls' soccer, field hockey, and cross-country, based on a mileage model to limit travel amongst schools. Home-and-away matchups will be limited to Saturdays and Sunday, except for golf (depending on course availability.

  • Pod 1: Ashland, Bellingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway, and Norton
  • Pod 2: Dedham, Dover-Sherborn, Medfield, Westwood, Norwood, and Millis.
  • Cheer, football, and girls' volleyball moved to Fall II.
  • Dedham delayed its start because of a spike of COVID numbers, but after a reduction in numbers, the athletic program received approval from the school committee to start practices Oct. 3.

Central Mass.

The Central Mass. Athletic Directors Association voted in late August to move girls' volleyball for all schools to the Fall II season. The other low/moderate risk sports — cross country, field hockey, golf, and soccer — will compete on the following basic schedule (with minor variations):

▪ Field hockey: Monday and Friday

▪ Boys' and girls' soccer: Tuesday and Thursday

▪ Cross county: Wednesday and Friday

▪ Golf: Days based on course availability

Competing schools from the seven leagues — Central Mass. Conference, Colonial Athletic League, Dual Valley Conference, Inter-High League, Mid-Wach League, Southern Worcester County League, Worcester County Athletic Conference — will compete in one of nine pods based on geography:

▪ POD 1: Blackstone-Millville (DVC, no golf); Blackstone Valley (CAL); Grafton (SWCL); Hopedale (DVC); Nipmuc (DVC); Northbridge (SWCL); Whitinsville Christian (DVC, no field hockey or golf)

▪ POD 2: Bay Path (CAL, no field hockey); David Prouty (SWCL); Leicester (SWCL); North Brookfield (WCAC, no golf); Quaboag (SWCL); Shepherd Hill (MW); Southbridge (SWCL, no golf or field hockey); Tantasqua (SWCL)

▪ POD 3: Auburn (SWCL); Bartlett (SWCL, no field hockey); Douglas (DVC, no field hockey); Millbury (SWCL, cross country and golf only); Oxford (SWCL); Sutton (DVC); Uxbridge (SWCL)

▪ POD 4: All Inter-High schools — Burncoat, Doherty, Main South, Worcester North, Worcester South … plus Notre Dame Academy (CMC), St. Paul (CMC) and Worcester Tech (CAL) … Note, the City of Worcester moved into "red' status on Sept. 16; start of practices has been postponed until further notice

▪ POD 5: Advanced Math & Science (CAL, cross country and golf only); Bromfield (MW); Hudson (MW); Marlborough (MW); Maynard (MW); Nashoba (MW)

▪ POD 6: Mid-Wach schools only — Fitchburg; Gardner; Murdock (cross country and field hockey only, boys' soccer co-op with Narragansett); Narragansett (no golf); Oakmont; Quabbin

▪ POD 7: Groton-Dunstable (MW); Littleton (MW); Lunenburg (MW); North Middlesex (MW); Parker Charter (CAL, soccer and cross country only); Tyngsborough (MW)

▪ POD 8: Mid-Wach schools only — Algonquin; Leominster; Shrewsbury; Wachusett; Westborough

▪ POD 9: Ayer Shirley (MW, no field hockey); Clinton (MW); Tahanto (MW); St. Bernard’s (CMC, field hockey, golf and girls' soccer only); South Lancaster (WCAC, boys' soccer and cross country only); West Boylston (MW, soccer only)

Some of Pods 5-9 are planning “postseason” tournaments in field hockey and soccer, playoff matches in golf, and championship meets in cross country.

Colonial Athletic League schools Abby Kelley Foster, Assabet Valley, Keefe Tech and Monty Tech, along with Sizer and Trivium (WCAC), will not compete in Fall I sports. Keefe Tech moved sports to Fall II.

Advanced Math and Science, and Millbury moved soccer to Fall II.

Western Mass.

PVIAC

The following pods will be used for cross-country and soccer:

▪ HAMPSHIRE EAST: Amherst, Belchertown, Granby, Monson, Palmer, Pathfinder, South Hadley, Ware

▪ HAMPSHIRE WEST: Easthampton, Gateway, Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion, St. Mary Parish, Smith Vocational, Westfield Tech

▪ HAMPDEN WEST: Agawam, Hampshire, Holyoke, Northampton, Westfield, West Springfield

▪ HAMPDEN EAST: Chicopee, Chicopee Comp, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Minnechaug

▪ SPRINGFIELD RED: Hampden Charter, Pope Francis, Sabis, Springfield Central, Springfield Putnam

▪ SPRINGFIELD BLUE: John J. Duggan, Pioneer Christian, Renaissance, Springfield Commerce, Springfield Sci-Tech

Boys' golf will use the following four pods:

▪ HAMPDEN EAST: Chicopee, Chicopee Comp, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Minnechaug

▪ HAMPDEN WEST: Agawam, Hampshire, Holyoke, Northampton, Southwick, Westfield, West Springfield

▪ HAMPSHIRE EAST: Belchertown, Monson, Palmer, Pathfinder, South Hadley, Ware

▪ HAMPSHIRE WEST: Easthampton, Pope Francis, Sabis, St. Mary Parish, Springfield Central, Westfield Tech

Girls volleyball will be split into three divisions:

▪ DIVISION A: Belchertown, Easthampton, Paulo Freire, Pioneer Valley Christian, Smith Vocational, Ware

▪ DIVISION B: Chicopee, Chicopee Comp, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Minnechaug

▪ DIVISION C: Agawam, Amherst (playing outdoors only), Holyoke, Westfield, West Springfield

Field hockey will be split into two divisions:

▪ HAMPDEN WEST: Agawam, Hampshire, Holyoke, Northampton, Westfield, West Springfield

▪ HAMPDEN EAST: Amherst, Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Minnechaug, South Hadley

▪ McCann Tech and Smith Academy will not compete in any sports in Fall I; Southwick will compete only in boys' golf; Amherst will not compete in golf; Granby moved cross country to Fall II

▪ Only home spectators will be allowed for outdoor sports; no spectators will be allowed for volleyball

▪ Out-of-season coaching is allowed for football, and any other individual school sports moved to Fall II

Franklin County

▪ Schools in this region — Athol, Franklin County Tech (no cross country), Frontier, Greenfield, Hopkins Academy (no field hockey), Mahar, Mohawk Trail, Pioneer Regional, Turners Falls (no cross country) — will compete in a single pod in cross-country, field hockey and golf only. Football, soccer, and girls' volleyball are moved to Fall II.

Berkshire County

▪ Only four schools will compete in cross country and golf — Monument Mountain, Mount Everett, Mount Greylock, Wahconah

▪ Hoosac Valley, Pittsfield and Taconic moved all sports to Fall II; Lee and Lenox will not compete in Fall I.

▪ Drury, though approved by its school committee, is a co-op with schools not playing in Fall I (Hoosac Valley golf, McCann Tech cross country).

Brandon Chase, Matt Doherty, Trevor Hass, and Nate Weitzer also contributed.


Jim Clark can be reached at jim.clark@globe.com. Craig Larson can be reached at craig.larson@globe.com.