Changing districts will positively affect sports

Brad Pace, Staff Writer

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This year as school commences and students and staff are adjusting to being back again, sports will also have to prepare for a change: Hayfield has moved from the aggressive and extremely competitive Liberty conference to the newly formed Gunston District (Occoquan Region).

Sports last year had mixed results, but most teams ended up with a losing record. However, changing the system of conferences to the system of districts could lead to a positive shift and possibly result in district championships. The old conferences were large groups of unrelated schools, and the new districts are small groups of local schools.

Last year, sports teams were in one of the more competitive conferences in Northern Virginia, and some teams struggled. This season, Hayfield will play teams in the new division, and there is a generally optimistic attitude about how well sports could do.

“I play both baseball and golf, and I think we’ll do better than we did last year and maybe even win the district,” sophomore Craige Smith said. “This year I think we’ll be second in the conference in golf and maybe win it in baseball.”

There are five teams in the Gunston District and it contains even more local teams such as Mount Vernon, Annandale, T.C. Williams and West Potomac.

“I’m definitely more intrigued to play the teams in our new conference because we’re competing with local schools,” junior Eddie Nosal said. “I don’t think that the new conference will affect us much because we’re just competing with more local schools.”

This schedule is not restricted to teams only in our district. The football team is playing many schools outside of the new district.

“This year the football schedule was based on the points in the past three years, and the principals in the DSA (Director of Student Activities) decided to play teams outside of your district that were similar in ability,” Director of Student Activities Edward Nowland said. “We’ve been pretty successful the past few years, and that is why our out of district schedule is so difficult. We are only playing [other teams] once, so we have four district games and six non-district opponents.”

There are also other non-district games other sports will be playing this year.

“The rest of our sports are district schedules. The principals in DSA have agreed to play everyone twice, and then we went out to get other opponents. We had to find other opponents to fill the schedule for the rest of our sports,” Nowland said.

The recently developed district will bring new rivalries to Hayfield and students are confident about how they will do this next sports season.

“By changing conferences, our team is now playing less challenging schools, which will hopefully improve our record,” junior Olivia Napier said. “I am very excited to play new teams because it will give us a chance to be more competitive and win more games.”

Overall, the change will most likely bring positive results, improving records and the athletes by giving them a smaller commute to each away game.

“We are really excited [about changing districts] because we aren’t going all the way to Langley or South Lakes, we are playing neighbor schools,” Nowland said.

Changing the districts to more local teams will foster new rivalries and generate more excitement for home and away games.

“It’s tough when we go to Langley or Madison because those players have been playing a particular sport since they were eight years old,” Nowland said. “I think [it] will affect us positively. Hopefully with schools being closer and more school spirit [because of it], we’ll win more games, get bigger crowds and more excitement. I think overall it will help the culture of our school.”

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