NEPA Sports Nation

Today in NEPA Sports Nation, 9/8

Tuesday’s 58 events across 6 sports had made it the busiest day of the new school sports year.

With more sports reaching Opening Day of conference competition, those numbers are scheduled to be exceeded Wednesday with 62 events in 7 spots.

“Scheduled” is the operative word. Weather factors could develop right around the time the events are supposed to start.

If all goes on as planned, Wednesday is the full day of openers in Lackawanna League and Wyoming Valley Conference boys and girls cross country and Lackawanna League boys soccer. It is also the day for openers in WVC Division 1 girls soccer, WVC Division 2 boys soccer and WVC Division 2 field hockey.

 The cluster meet format in cross country makes things interesting from the start.

The “cluster” of Montrose, Blue Ridge and Elk Lake is running at Valley View, which is part of a cluster that also includes Abington Heights at North Pocono.

The meet brings together four of the top nine boys teams in District 2, according to the Century Dental Associates Cross Country Power Rankings, and four of the top dozen girls teams in the district. Teams in their own cluster aren’t scored against each other until one meet later in the season, so boys No. 1 Abington Heights and No. 3 North Pocono aren’t technically competing against each other yet, but they are going against No. 5 Montrose and No. 9 Elk Lake.

Similarly, Montrose and Elk Lake are not being scored against each other yet.

On the girls side, No. 7 Montrose has to face No. 2 Abington Heights, No. 4 North Pocono and No. 12 Valley View.

The WVC takes a different approach.

Beginning a week from now, its meets will look the same as the Lackawanna League, but on Opening Day, teams run strictly against their own cluster, getting that competition out of the way first.

Crestwood, the defending WVC champion and No. 1-ranked girls team and No. 4 team on the boys side, hosts Hazleton Area and MMI Prep. Hazleton Area was 13-3 in boys and 12-4 in boys in WVC cross country last season.

The 15-game boys soccer schedule includes 11 Lackawanna openers and 3 WVC Division 2 openers.

Mountain View, the defending division champion and third-ranked Small School in the Riverside United Super Six Power Rankings of District 2 teams, is at fourth-ranked Holy Cross in a Lackawanna Division 2 game.

No. 3 Big School Valley View is at No. 5 Big School Delaware Valley, the defending champion, in Lackawanna Division 1.

Abington Heights returns from a year off to host Honesdale in Lackawanna Division 1.

Defending WVC Division 2 champion Wyoming Seminary opens at home against Hanover Area.

Three of the four games on the girls soccer schedule are WVC Division 1 openers.

Defending champion Dallas, the top-ranked Big School, is at Wilkes-Barre Area.

The five-game field hockey schedule includes three WVC Division 2 openers. Defending champion Wallenpaupack is at Nanticoke, last season’s third-place team.

The schedule also calls for 13 golf matches, 9 girls volleyball matches and 6 girls tennis matches.

Western Wayne has already beaten one of the two Lackawanna teams above it in the Electric City Volleyball Academy Elite Eight Power Rankings of District 2 teams. It hosts the other when the seventh-ranked Lady Wildcats face sixth-ranked Blue Ridge in a meeting of 1-0 teams.

In golf, Lackawanna Division 3 co-leader Mid Valley (3-0-1 division, 4-0-1 overall) is at third-place Lakeland (3-1, 3-2).

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