The High School sports scene within the Commonwealth of Virginia will be an entirely different format than ever experienced. First will be the changing of seasons from the normal fall, winter and spring seasons to; now for this 2020-2021 school year, it will be winter, fall and spring.
The second big thing fans and players will notice is the shortness of each season cutting down on the number of contests in each season.
Another big difference will be the “Championships +1” format that drastically cuts into the normally longer playoff picture. This means that teams must hit the field, floor or mat ready to play; there won’t be any “getting it together” once the season starts. The Virginia High School League (VHSL) voted last month unanimously (33-0) to accept this proposal for the FY 2021 Athletic and Academic Activities season. VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. (Billy) Haun stated, “The Championships +1 schedule will provide sports in all three seasons.”
Season 1 or Winter will begin December 7 and end February 20 with the first competition date being December 21. This season will include basketball (guys and girls), gymnastics, indoor track, swimming and diving (guys and girls) and wrestling. Northumberland Athletic Director Teresa Rock stated practice could begin with players and coaches involved on December 7.
Season 2, normally the Fall season, will begin February 4 and end May 1. The date of the first game will be March 1. Sports played will be competition cheering, cross country, field hockey, football, golf and volleyball. Field hockey and volleyball are girls’ sports in Division 1. Cross country and golf will be for both girls and guys. Rock stated practice will begin on February 1.
Season 3, or Spring, will begin April 12 and conclude on June 26 with the first contest being no earlier than April 26. Sports included are guys baseball, lacrosse, soccer (guys and girls), softball, tennis and track and field (guys and girls). Some sports are not participated in by Northumberland but are listed for information purposes. Practice can begin April 10.
Academic competition begins December and runs through June with contests in theatre, scholastic bowl, forensics, film festival, creative writing, publications evaluations and multimedia. Northumberland has scored well in past years in many of these competitions.
Many changes will provide challenges for both coaches and student-athletes but one thing remains constant: student-athletes must have a current physical before reporting to practice.