The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association might not be holding state tournaments this winter, due to COVID-19, but the Merrimack Valley Conference will crown champions later this month.
The MVC announced over the weekend that it will hold league championship tournaments, to be played during February vacation.
“The Merrimack Valley Conference is excited to announce that this winter season will conclude with end of season cup championships and tournaments,” said the MIAA in a press release. “These tournaments and championship meets will take place over February vacation week.”
Boys and girls basketball and boys hockey will follow the same format, with each sport seeding schools 1-10. The top four seeds will play in the MVC Division 1 tournament, and seeds 5-8 will playing in the Division 2 tourney. The bottom two seeds will play home-and-home consolation games to close out their season.
Methuen athletic director Matt Curran said official dates will be announced later this week. Tewksbury High will host the boys title game, Chelmsford will host the girls championship game and the Tsongas Center in Lowell will host the boys hockey title game. Semifinals will be hosted by the higher seed.
“Our guys are excited to be able to continue to compete and hopefully position ourselves to get in the top four,” said Methuen boys hoops coach Anthony Faradie.
Added Andover coach Dave Fazio on Twitter: “This is great!”
Girls hockey will seeds teams 1-5. The top seed will earn a bye into the final (on Feb. 20 or 21 at the Tsongas), while seeds 2-3 will play a semifinal (Feb. 17). Seeds 4 and 5 will play a consolation game.
“We are very excited for the chance to play in the playoffs,” said Methuen/Tewksbury coach Sarah Oteri. “Our league is super competitive, and the majority of the games have been very close. So it’s awesome the athletic directors found a way to let us add some more competition.
“It’s also great for our seniors to continue experiencing some sort of tournament, as we have in previous years, and for our younger players to learn from the playoffs.”
Boys swimming will compete in a virtual MVC meet during championship week, with teams reporting their times and scores to decide the champions.
Gymnastics will seed teams 1-8, with the top four competing for the MVC Division 1 title and 5-8 competing for the Division 2 title.
“I think the team is extremely excited to be able to compete for something as their season comes to an end,” said Central girls basketball coach Casey Grange. “The seniors are especially fired up because every senior’s dream is to go on the magical playoff run in their final season, and that was taken away from them. This is the next best thing and we are very grateful that the powers to be are making it happen for us.”