The chaos that is high school spring sports is already well underway and will reach its crescendo quickly as the 2021-22 season feverishly comes to a close within a few weeks. But not before the UHSAA doles out a lot of hardware — 44 championship and 44 runner-up trophies to be exact.
May is by far the busiest calendar month of the season for the UHSAA, which was made even busier with the introduction of boys and girls lacrosse last season.
In total, there are 10 sports during the spring (baseball, softball, boys soccer, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls track, boys tennis and boys and girls golf), which necessitates 44 state meet/tournaments over a 29-day span from start to finish. UHSAA executive director Robb Cuff said it’s even more congested when you consider that it’s only 18 days from the first spring trophy being handed out to the last.
The spring sports madness got underway April 29 with the 3A and 2A boys soccer state tournament games. Trophies will start being handed out early this week with girls golf championships along with 4A, 3A and 2A soccer titles.
The 2021-22 season officially concludes May 28 with the 6A and 5A baseball state championship games.
The goal for the UHSAA is to have everything wrapped up by the Saturday before Memorial Day. Weather can sometimes make getting all the tournaments finished on time a challenge, but the UHSAA has had luck getting everything in before Memorial Day for at least the past two decades.
For high school athletic directors, the biggest challenges they face in the spring happens well before the May madness and it’s all Mother Nature’s fault.
“The biggest challenge is the weather and trying to manage fields and cancel and reschedule games. Spring weather is so unpredictable. We also have with boys and girls lacrosse more sports in the spring than any other season,” said Maple Mountain athletic director David Boyack. “Counting the days until summer break.”
There really isn’t a slow season anymore as the UHSAA has expanded classifications and the number of sports it sanctions in recent years. In the fall the UHSAA handles 34 state competitions over a 52-day span from start to finish. In the winter there are 36 competitions over a 35-day span.
In all, the UHSAA will hand out 114 state championship trophies for athletics. A decade ago that number was 85, but the sixth classification and new sports like girls wrestling and boys and girls lacrosse has dramatically increased the volume. With boys volleyball joining the sanctioned sports in two years, that will just add to the spring chaos.
Cuff said spring is the biggest challenge because all nine sports are played outdoors, but he said the entire UHSAA staff tries to map out all potential scenarios well in advance to manage all the different scenarios and wrinkles that can occur.
“Most of the work for postseason events happens behind the scenes before teams finish their regular season. Our staff works very hard to get venues, game officials and additional staff in place prior to the start of postseason knowing that we may all have to be flexible due to factors like weather,” said Cuff.
“There is never a guarantee that an event will take place or a game will be played because of spring weather in Utah. Oftentimes, rain and lightning will delay or suspend an event or game, which complicates and compounds the flow of a tournament.”
Baseball, softball and boys tennis are the three sports most impacted by inclement weather because of safety concerns.
While this spring has certainly created its fair share of canceled games and rescheduling headaches, the weather forecast looks pretty promising over the next 10 days for a smooth end of the season.
May’s 44 state championships
- 6A, 5A girls golf
- 4A, 3A, 2A boys soccer
- 4A, 3A girls golf
- 3A, 2A softball
- 3A, 2A baseball
- 6A, 4A boys tennis
- 2A girls golf
- 1A boys & girls golf
- 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A, 1A boys & girls track
- 4A baseball
- 4A softball
- 5A, 3A boys tennis
- 6A, 5A boys soccer
- 6A, 5A, 4A girls lacrosse
- 6A, 5A, 4A boys lacrosse
- 6A, 5A softball
- 6A, 5A baseball