The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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May 13, 2024

SPC Makes Cuts

SPC has removed its Division II Championships, decreasing the number of teams allowed to play.

The phrase of athletes “playing as if the season was on the line” has nev­er been more appropri­ate. The Southern Preparatory Conference changed the rules to the SPC tournament, and now four of the 16 teams that could have participated will not participate at all.

In the previous SPC tour­nament system, the top four teams from the North Zone and the top four from the South Zone competed against each other in Division I during SPC for the overall champion­ship; the bottom four from each zone played in SPC for the Division II championship title. Seeding is determined by regular season records. Every team plays “counters,” which are games against teams in the same zone.

Athletic Department Chair Jennifer Johnson said that this change was a “shift in philosophy” in the SPC tournament.

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“With the old system, there used to be two champions for two different tournaments,” Johnson said.

Under the new SPC changes, Division II has been completely eliminated.

“It was a little bit confus­ing having two tournaments and two champions,” Johnson said. “You could be a Division II champion but it was really 9th place in the overall conference.”

Since Division II has been eliminated, there will only be one tournament that teams can play in. The top six teams from each zone will compete in SPC, and the teams that do not make it into those top six spots will not play at all.

This new system will first affect field hockey and volley­ball this season. Senior volley­ball captain Sam Toomey said that the changes create more pressure to perform during the regular season.

“If you don’t play your best, you’re not going to get in it,” Toomey said. “I think that the changes are a good thing because it’ll up the competi­tion for and in Division I. It’s definitely more motivation to play hard, work hard and practice hard.”

In order to accommodate the increase of teams in the tourna­ment, an extra day was added to the tournaments. Teams seeded third to sixth will play on Thursday. Only teams seeded first and second are exempt from playing that Thursday.

“It’ll be interesting to see how an extra day in the tourna­ment affects teams,” Johnson, also the varsity field hockey coach, said. “From a condition­ing standpoint, it’ll definitely be tough.”

Hockaday teams are in the North Zone with Casaday School (Oklahoma), Episco­pal School of Dallas (Dallas), Greenhill (Dallas), Holland Hall (Oklahoma), All Saints’ (Houston), Trinity Valley (Fort Worth), Country Day (Fort Worth) and Oakridge (Arling­ton). The South Zone consists of Kinkaid (Houston), St. John’s (Houston), Saint Mary’s Hall (San Antonio), St. Stephen’s (Houston), St. Andrews (Aus­tin), Episcopal (Houston) and Houston Christian (Houston). Since there are nine teams in the North Zone and only seven in the South Zone, three teams from the North Zone and one team from the South Zone will not make SPC.

This year, SPC is centered in Dallas. Cross Country SPC will be held at Norbuck Park. Volleyball SPC will be hosted by the Episcopal School of Dal­las. Field hockey SPC will be held at Hockaday.

“The last time it was at Hockaday we won the cham­pionship,” Johnson said. “So there’s some pressure from that but hopefully some excitement too to bring it back.”

Hockaday last won the SPC Championship for field hockey in 2010 when field hockey SPC was held at Hockaday. Junior Field Hockey Captain Frances Burton said that the SPC chang­es, coupled with the pressure of hosting the tournament, makes this season more important than ever.

“I think we all want to make it to SPC since it’s at Hockaday and it would be on all of us to be sitting here and not being able to play in the tournament,” Burton said. “Every season, it’s important to win, but this year since it’s at Hockaday where we’d have home field advantage with fans and support, it just adds that element where we don’t want to let people down.”

Cross country last won the SPC championship in 2011, and volleyball last won the SPC championship in 2008.

Volleyball did not make the cut for SPC this year. “Even though we didn’t make it this year, we had a great season,” Toomey said. “I know we’ll come back stronger than ever next year.”

Athletic Board Chair senior Jessica Savage said that hosting SPC is a “special thing” and has been working on the Student Council to help implement the first Spirit Week to generate more excitement.

“We have Spirit Week, which will happen before every SPC. There will be fun activities and Serendipity days,” Savage said. “It’ll be awesome just to get the spirit going and get the school really pumped up for SPC and to support the athletes and to really make a community feel before big tournaments.”

In the winter, basketball and soccer will play under the new rules as well, and in the spring, softball and tennis will also be affected. Lacrosse does not have 12 teams to make the switch and it will continue under the eight-team bracket championship methods. All other individual sports such as cross country and swimming will continue with their own systems.

For more information on schedule times, game results and team seeding, visit http://www.

– Courtney Le

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