The quest for district supremacy officially begins today, as soccer and field hockey tournaments get underway.
Among the highlights of the week are a one-game championship between Mifflin County and State College in District 6 Class AAA field hockey - the rubber match for these two teams both for the season and for the three years since Mifflin County High School was formed.
East Juniata's boys soccer team begins its quest for a fifth straight District 4 Class A championship, matching the number of times it has won the Tri-Valley League in the same span.
And six-time TVL field hockeywinner Greenwood will take another stab at a District 3 Class AA title.
Today's slate includes three games: Greenwood field hockey, and both East Juniata soccer squads. The field hockey game, against Donegal, will take place at 5 p.m. at Lower Dauphin High School in Hummelstown.
East Juniata - boys and girls - head to Central Columbia High School in Bloomsburg for first-round games. The girls plat at 5 p.m. against Loyalsock, then the boys take on Millville in the nightcap.
On Wednesday, it's District 6 action and the first championship game of the season. That will be the 4 p.m. face off between the Little Lions and the Huskies, which has become an annual field hockey classic since the two joined the Mid-Penn Conference. State College finished below the Huskies in the Commonwealth Division standings but ahead in overall record.
Although District 6 hosts a championship game, it is not a state qualifier - the winner between these two heads to North Allegheny High School to take on the WPIAL (District 7) champion for a state bracket slot on Oct. 31.
Also on Wednesday are a pair of soccer games. The Juniata boys head to Altoona for a District Class AA match with Bishop Carroll at 6 p.m. At 7:30 that night in Hollidaysburg, Belleville Mennonite goes up against Bishop McCort, the Johnstown school that has eliminated the Thunder each of the past two years in the district event. Belleville Mennonite won a regular-season meeting between the two.
On Thursday, East Juniata's field hockey cooperative will find out if the merger with Juniata will improve its outcome in District 4, where the Class AA bracket includes a former state champion - the Tigers' first opponent, Mifflinburg - a former state finalist and at another team that notched a win over the Tigers in the regular season.
Also that day, the Juniata girls face former Mountain League rival Huntingdon in a first-round District 6 Class AA soccer match.
Skip to Saturday, and Greenwood's boys soccer game becomes one of the last two teams to make its postseason appearance. The Wildcats will host the winner of a game today between Lititz Christian and TVL foe Upper Dauphin at 7 p.m. One more boys team, Midd-West, qualified for the District 4 Class AA field, but its first date has not been announced.
All three districts will hold cross country championships this week. District 3's run is Wednesday on the Hershey Parkview Course used for states; Greenwood has one runner entering as an unattached athlete. Midd-West will compete in the District 4 run at Bloomsburg University Thursday. And both Mifflin County and Mount Union will try for a state ticket in the District 6 meet, which takes place Saturday at Reedsville.