Adam Lindner | Sports Editor
Nov. 29, 2018
Within college sports, championship events are typically held independently of one another. At the Division I level, events are not arranged strategically, leaving each event as a solo act entering town.
The NCAA’s Division II level of competition, however, employs a festival-type setting for a selection of its championships.
According to the NCAA website, the division is the only NCAA grouping to participate in what it calls “National Championship Festivals,” Olympic-style events in which a number of national championships are held at a single site over several days. The idea originated in the early 2000s, resulting in the first-ever festival in Orlando in the spring of 2004.
Its purpose, per the NCAA website, is to “provide student-athletes with a championships experience that exceeds what they normally would enjoy in their conference or NCAA postseason events.”
Since being introduced in 2004, the festival has rotated from season-to-season and city-to-city, “giving all student-athletes and host institutions the opportunity to partake in this unique NCAA event.”
The festival’s latest rendition brings it to Pittsburgh, where six national champions will be crowned in their respective sports in the coming days.
Teams will compete in men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, volleyball, and men’s and women’s cross country in Pittsburgh, making the Steel City the seventh city to host a D-II Festival.
Slippery Rock and Clarion are the event’s two host institutions, and will work closely alongside SportsPITTSBURGH — the sports branch of Visit Pittsburgh — in hosting the festival. As part of the festivities, Duquesne will open its campus to some of the events for numerous days, beginning Thursday.
The A.J. Palumbo Center will see four women’s volleyball quarterfinal matches on Thursday, Nov. 29, beginning at 12 p.m. with No. 2 Wheeling Jesuit facing No. 7 Lewis University.
Two field hockey semifinal games will be played at Duquesne on Thursday, as well, at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. The games will be held at Rooney Field.
On Friday, Nov. 30, the winners from Thursday’s volleyball matches will face off in the semifinals, again at the Palumbo Center.
At 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, the Division II field hockey championship game will be played at Rooney Field. Later, at 3 p.m., the women’s volleyball title game will begin at the Palumbo Center.
Along with Wheeling Jesuit and Lewis, the University of Tampa, Western Washington, Wingate, Washburn University, Tarleton State and American International College will compete for the women’s volleyball crown.
West Chester, Shippensburg, East Stroudsburg and Pace will battle for the D-II field hockey title.