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Base Open Division on this year's records

04/13/2013, 3:32pm PDT
By John Maffei

Teams in elite bracket shouldn't be selected on performance of past few years.


Vista's Austin Ott is congratulated after scoring a run for the Panthers, who deserve to be playing in this year's Open Division.

After being vocally opposed to Commissioner Jerry Schniepp’s idea of creating an Open Division for the playoffs in most San Diego Section high school sports, I’ve actually warmed to the idea a little bit.

After talking to a number of coaches, in different sports, from all over the county, there has to be some tweaks before the plan is implemented this spring.

As it stands now, the eight teams that will play in baseball’s Open Division are Granite Hills, Rancho Bernardo, Helix, La Costa Canyon, Poway, Rancho Buena Vista, Torrey Pines and Vista. Those teams were identified before the season by records over the last three seasons.

I just don’t believe a team’s seeding this season should be based on what its players did three years ago.

Baseball more than any other sport depends on one person — the pitcher.

Some years you have it. Some years you don’t. To predetermine teams for the elite division based on past performance is flawed. Even the best team can have its season ruined by injuries or ineligibility.

Realistically, from that list of eight teams, Rancho Bernardo, Granite Hills and Vista should stay in the Open Division based on their play this season.

Rancho Buena Vista and La Costa Canyon are very much on the bubble. Helix, Poway and Torrey Pines — all good programs over the years — have struggled this season and don’t deserve an invitation to the Open Division.

Instead, St. Augustine, Montgomery, Otay Ranch, Patrick Henry, Cathedral Catholic, Grossmont, Carlsbad, Valhalla and Mira Mesa — all Division I teams — should be considered.

Westview, La Jolla Country Day and Eastlake would be in the mix from Division II while Serra and San Dieguito from Division III could play in the Open Division.

If we’re truly looking for the best teams in all sports to play in the Open Division, why does it have to be based on the past three, four or five years?

If number of years is the determining factor, Vista would have made the Open Division in football this season. The Panthers were 2-8 in 2012 and didn’t make the playoffs.

Why can’t a seeding committee choose the best eight teams — regardless of enrollment size — for the Open Division.

Might have been fun to have Mission Hills, La Costa Canyon, St. Augustine, Hoover and Army-Navy play in the Open Division in boys basketball this season.

Certainly, you wouldn’t want Army-Navy or Francis Parker, coming off a good football season, to line up against Helix. Common sense tells you that in some sports size indeed matters.

In other sports — boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls tennis, maybe even soccer, talent — not record over a number of years — should dictate who plays at the highest level.

So if you have a seeding committee that is made up of men and women you trust, is well-informed and honest, there is no reason Open Division teams can’t be chosen at the end of the season based on the performance of that season.

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