The playoffs are here.
For springtime varsity high-school sports teams in the Sun Gazette’s coverage area, the postseason already has begun for tennis and lacrosse, with the playoffs for the remainder of the sports beginning in full early next week.
The potential exists for multiple teams on the public and private-school levels to do very well, contending for conference, district, region and state championships.
“This is when it gets fun,” Bishop O’Connell High School girls softball coach Suzy Willemssen said.
O’Connell is the No. 1-ranked Division I private-school team in the state, and is favored to win conference and state tournaments in the next few days.
McLean’s Potomac School Panthers are the No. 2-ranked softball team in the state, and also are the top seed and a heavy favorite in their conference tournament.
There are as many as seven teams in public-school softball – including the Madison Warhawks, McLean Highlanders, Langley Saxons, Wakefield Warriors and Washington-Liberty Generals – that could emerge as district and region champions, depending on which squads get hot at the right time in what are wide-open competitions.
The O’Connell baseball team is ranked third in Virginia, making the Knights a top challenger for next week’s state tourney. The Flint Hill Huskies are the top seed in their private-school conference tourney.
In public-school baseball, the McLean Highlanders are the top seed in the Liberty District. With three strong pitchers, speedy baserunners and consistent hitting, the Highlanders have sights set on postseason prizes.
Other pubic-school baseball teams in the hunt for playoff fame will be the Yorktown Patriots, Oakton Cougars and the defending district, region and state champion Madison Warhawks.
Yorktown enters the postseason with five straight wins and allowed just five runs in its last four contests. The Patriots’ first playoff game is scheduled for May 16.
“We look to have a real busy and good week of practice, then start the postseason and keep it going,” Yorktown coach John Skaggs said.
With a 12-7 record, Madison has been up-and-down this spring. Yet, the team has been swinging hot bats of late, winning four of its last five regular-season outings.
Oakton (14-6) handed top seed Chantilly of the Concorde District its only two regular-season league losses.
In soccer, the Washington-Liberty Generals boys and Yorktown Patriots dominated throughout the regular season, earning the top seeds in the Liberty District tournaments. The Madison and Oakton girls are top contenders in the Concorde, along with the Oakton boys.
“We want to continue doing what we have been doing once the playoffs start and not change anything,” Washington-Liberty boys coach Jimmy Carrasquillo said.
In boys and girls lacrosse there are multiple teams capable of playoff prizes. On the boys side, defending state champion Yorktown is one, along with Madison, Oakton and the Langley Saxons. For the girls, Langley, Madison and Oakton expect to be contenders, as well.
Both Oakton teams in girls and boys tennis are strong, along with the Langley and Madison girls and McLean boys are strong.
There are numerous track and field athletes with potential to win multiple post-season prizes, including distance runners Owen McArdle and Anna Macon Corcoran of Yorktown and Xavier Jemison and Thais Rolly of McLean.
The playoffs are about to be in full swing. Time will tell how many local champions emerge.