Classes are back in session across the province, and for Portage Collegiate students, that means athletics are back as well. The football and golf seasons have already begun, with tryouts for volleyball and hockey going on this week.
Manitoba High School Athletic Association's Executive Director Chad Falk says this is one of his favourite times of the year.
"We had so much momentum built last year after, what we called, a traditional school year. All of our provincial championships ran at traditional times, and participation numbers were through the roof. With the momentum from last year, we have really high hopes for this one."
Falk says they haven't changed too much ahead of the school year, as far as rules go. He notes the format for curling has been altered, and the team sizes for cross country have also changed, but the biggest difference comes on the football field. Divisions are now split into A, AA, AAA, and AAAA categories depending on the size of the school rather than the location.
"It was interesting to see that they (Winnipeg High School Football Association) decided to switch things up a little bit. I'm interested to see how it goes. We have the same amount of varsity teams back this year. There are 30 teams participating at the varsity level, and I think there are eight junior varsity teams," Falk continues. "It's an interesting format change, and I hope they give it a chance for a few years to see how it pans out."
He notes the first provincial tournament of the year goes down on September 29 at Pleasant Valley Golf Club.
"It's an outstanding golf course, but it's going to be a challenging one. The championship is about a week later than it normally is. We're experimenting with that," says Falk. "It's a challenging and beautiful course. We're looking forward to kicking off our first provincial championship of the school year."
Falk adds they've continued to focus on bringing provincial championships of all kinds to different parts of the province. He says their first three provincial events will all take place outside of Winnipeg.