Playoffs update

What will the capstone events of winter sports look like


Emily Straetz

Xavier McAtee 22’ prepares for his senior year tournament during the regular season as the Wildcats defeated the Caribou Vikings on January 5.

Cassidy Carlisle, Staff Writer

After numerous home games this winter sports season testing out the face mask requirements for fans and athletes, athletic director Mark White believes people have adjusted well to the policies around social distancing. “I’m so pleased with our fans and other teams fans coming in here and respecting what we have to do,” he said. The question still hangs in the air: what will tournament time look like this year?

The 2020-2021 winter sports season looked different than normal. Basketball and skiing only competed against teams within Aroostook County. Hockey and cheer, however, were able to compete against teams outside of Aroostook County but still had no spectators, and masking was required for all. 

Assistant principal Joe Greaves believes having a large fan section back changes the atmosphere of the games. “I love to see the student body there, as it reminds me and many others at the game of when we were in high school,” said Greaves.  “Presque Isle has a long standing tradition of our fans supporting athletics, and our student body has always played a big role in that,” he said. 

As many know, tournament time for basketball is a special time. It’s a time when multiple northern Maine teams come together at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine and compete for championship titles in a week’s span of time. The majority of the schools bring their cheerleaders and bands and the atmosphere is like no other. 

Some people believe that tournament time is a time for varsity players to show their skills to people around the state. “Having the experience to play at tournament is something that I’ve always wanted to have, and being able to do it with this group is really special,” said Wyatt Young ‘24.

As of right now, this year’s basketball tournament will go almost back to normal. The only slight difference is that masking will be required inside the Cross Center. As of right now, attendees won’t need to show proof of vaccination. “It is an open tournament,” said White. “There will be prelim games at the higher seeds, and then eight teams – just like always – will move on to the Cross Center in Bangor.” That means Presque Isle and or any other school can have spectators, cheerleaders, band members, and the biggest and loudest student section they want. 

Hockey will also be an open tournament. “Hockey has a couple of changes,” said White. “The semi-finals this year will be played at the higher seed. The neutral sites are only for the regional finals and states.” The Class B regional final will be played at the University of Maine at Orono and as of right now you will need a proof of vaccination to attend and masking will be required for all. The state Class B hockey game will be played at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

Cheering championships will be as they have always been, the only slight difference again is masking will be required for all who attend or participate.

“Skiing is one of the only different ones this year, as you will not need to wear a mask because it is an outdoor event,” said White. “However, a slight change is that you will need a mask to go inside the lodges and the lodges could possibly cap capacity, so we do need to be mindful of that.” The alpine state championship will be held on Thursday and Friday prior to February vacation at Saddleback Mountain. Nordic is the end of the week of February vacation at Black Mountain.

“People really just need to be prepared to wear a mask, and hopefully the athletic directors such as myself will keep everyone up to date on what changes may occur,” said White.