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True champ comes from regular season

By Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com

On Monday, two of the three Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ conferences will hold conference softball and baseball tournaments. The ME-GA 7 held its softball tournament final Thursday and the baseball final Friday.

This year, like every year, some team will be named conference champion. But, this year – like every year – some team has already been named regular-season champion.

Which one counts more?

For me, the “true” champion is the regular-season champion, the group that beat more conference opponents than everybody else. That team has been the best in the conference for the entire season, which runs over the course of several months.

By contrast, you can get hot for one week and sneak away with the league tournament championship. In the tournament, you can also avoid a team that you couldn’t handle in the regular-season.

In the regular-season, you’ll play that team twice. You’ve got to try to figure it out.

The conference tournament, however, brings all the teams together and by virtue of its place late in the season, it also draws more fans.

It feels bigger.

But the conference tournament still shouldn’t count more.

For me, when you say conference champ, it’s the team that won the regular-season title.

• The N.C. High School Athletic Association took a long-needed and stern approach to transferring with a new statewide transfer policy this week.

Once a student starts ninth grade, he or she has established their school. If the student-athlete moves to another school, in or out of district – unless there is a bona fide change of address – he or she must sit out 365 days.

That’ll be a strong deterrent to transfers.

• Another change establishes a county-wide boundary for non-traditional schools like area charter and Catholic schools. Students from out-of-county can also attend those schools if they are a member of a parochial church or they live within a 25-mile radius of campus.

This mile radius rule would allow students from as far away as Rock Hill, for example, to potentially attend Charlotte Catholic in south Charlotte.

• Been a pretty sweet sports year at Olympic, which had been one of the area schools more starved for all sports successes.

The Trojans’ basketball team won the school’s first major sports championship in 47 years in March. Last fall, the football team had one of its best-ever postseason runs under coach Barry Shuford.

In the spring, the softball team has been strong, reaching the ME-GA 7 tournament championship and sharing the regular-season championship with Charlotte Catholic.

On Friday, the baseball team won its first conference tournament championship in five years with a 5-3 win over Charlotte Catholic.

Pitcher Logan Redmond had nine strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit in the first three innings as the Trojans jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

Wertz: 704-612-9716; twitter: @langstonwertzjr
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