College Season Heating Up…but the Championship has been Postponed
Some recent matches have upended the Collegiate Top 5, but on the top of everyone’s minds is the recent decision by USA Team Handball to postpone the Collegiate National Championships. Originally scheduled for 3-5 April at Ohio State University the tournament has now been postponed due to concerns with the Coronavirus situation and Ohio State’s recent decision to suspend all “In-Person” classes until March 30th.
This is a shame because the championship was shaping up to be one of the most interesting and potentially wide open contests in years. Yes, Army- West Point, is still the odds on favorite, but several sides have stepped up their game and seemed poised to provide them a real challenge. Here are the result of the latest poll.
Army: Per usual, Army has had an outstanding season and is unbeaten in college play. They are also on track for a 2nd place finish in the Northeast Team Handball League behind NYC.
Air Force: Air Force was beaten soundly by Army in November 40-28, but in January at the Cal Cup, the margin was just 31-29. More recently, they went 5-0-0 at their own tournament and had an impressive 26-18 victory over previously unbeaten North Carolina. This victory (no surprise) vaulted them to #2 in the standings.
North Carolina: North Carolina has a 14-0-2 overall record and their top accomplishment this year was winning the Carolina Blue Cup. They’ve been a consistent performer, but the loss to Air Force dropped them to #3
Ohio State: Ohio State has a 10-1-1 overall record and in February they knocked off previously unbeaten Pittsburgh 31-19. This record and the key victory over Pitt has vaulted them to 4th place, but all their wins have come at home. It remains to be seen how well they can do against sides that play against tougher competition.
Army (2nd Team): Army’s 2nd team took 2nd place at the Carolina Blue Cup and this performance earned them a 5th place ranking. In the semifinals they shocked perennial power NYAC and in the finals they only lost, 31-29 to North Carolina. The only question mark? The roster for the side that played in Chapel Hill had some players who’ve also seen 1st team action this season. So, it was perhaps a better 2nd team side then the team that has played in other competitions.
Lots of questions marks remain regarding the evolving Coronavirus situation and it’s impact on sporting events. The USA Team Handball announcement even suggested that attendees hold off on making travel plans for the that the Club National Championships scheduled for 8-10 May in Detroit. Even if the Coronavirus concerns get resolve with students finishing up the semester in May and seniors graduating it could be very challenging to reschedule the college championship. Yes, it would certainly be a huge disappointment, but there’s a very real possibility that there won’t be any more college handball this season.
2019-20 College Records: Link
2019-20 Game Results: Link