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State tournament seeding meets grade

FARGO — The North Dakota Class B volleyball, baseball and boys and girls basketball state tournaments each went through a seeding process for the first time in 2013-14.

The seeding procedure was voted in last June by the North Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors by a 5-4 vote.

After Year 1, that seeding process — where coaches of the eight participating teams determine the top four teams based on a vote-ranking system — appears to be making the grade.

“The feedback was very positive,” said Matt Fetsch, who begins his tenure as NDHSAA Executive Secretary on July 1. “A big part of that was the coaches involved in those tournaments were very timely with getting us all the information we requested.”

Prior to the seeding procedure, a tournament’s pairings had been predetermined based off of annual rotations of the state’s eight Class B regions for volleyball, basketball and baseball.

By seeding the tournaments, it was hoped that some of the potential marquee matchups would occur later in the tournament rather than the quarterfinals.

Of the four tournaments that were seeded, teams that were seeded No. 1 were 3-1 in state championship games. The only tournament that had a No. 1 vs. No. 2 seed matchup was in boys basketball.

Only one tournament — baseball — had an unseeded team make it to the championship game.

The seeding procedure also built more anticipation among fans. In past years, teams and fans could know the pairings of each state tournament following the conclusion of the region tournaments.

Following the seeding process, pairings for the state tournaments were released via the NDHSAA website.

“People wanted to know when the seeds came out, and I think it created a lot of excitement for the teams involved in the tournaments,” Kindred Public School Superintendent and NDHSAA board member Steve Hall said.

The best indicator of the success of the NDHSAA seeding process may be the fact that on Monday the board passed a district chair recommendation that the Class B state wrestling team dual tournament be seeded. Starting in 2014-15, that tournament will now be seeded.

“There are no plans to stray from it,” Fetsch said of the seeding procedure in place.

Overall records — including consolation games — of No. 1 seeds in the tournaments were 11-1 (.917). No. 2 seeds were 8-4 (.666), No. 3 seeds were 6-6 (.500) and No. 4 seeds were 6-6 (.500).

“If you look at the data, the coaches did a pretty good job with the seeding,” Fetsch said.

Seeded teams from Region 1 and Region 6 fared the best in the quarterfinals with 3-0 records. Seeded teams from Region 2 were 0-4 in the quarterfinals.

Tom Mix

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high school sports reporter. He's worked at The Forum for five years. He was the 2013 North Dakota sportswriter of the year, an award that is sponsored by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to  

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