2016 champions: Monsignor Martin – St. Joe's. Section VI – Orchard Park (Class A), Hamburg (Class B), Akron (Class C).
2016 All-Western New York underclassmen: Attack, Jason Chiodo (Hamburg); Middie, Owen Hill (Akron); Middie, Jack Lalley (St. Joe's); Defense, Josh Dahl (Orchard Park).
2016 All-Section VI first-team team underclassmen: Goalie, Ben Mazur (Lancaster); Defense, Tyler Schmitz (Eden); Dahl (OP); Middie, Chiodo (Hamburg); Hill (Akron).
What's new: D as in Class D. The New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association approved the addition of the fourth classification to its tournament roster for boys and girls lacrosse during the winter of 2016.
How change impacts Section VI: For the postseason, double serving of championship-day doubleheaders.
There will be two venues for the Section VI finals with Classes A and B taking place Thursday, June 1 at All High Stadium. Classes C and D will be contested in a twinbill the same day at Williamsville North.
As far as the regular-season schedule goes, Class A and B teams will play each other once since there are now only 12 teams total in both classifications (seven in Class B). The five Class A teams are Orchard Park, Lancaster, Clarence, Frontier and Lockport. Class B consists of Hamburg, Williamsville North, Niagara-Wheatfield, North Tonawanda, Sweet Home, Williamsville East and West Seneca West.
"The reason we did it was we wanted to provide enough games for the Class A schools," Section VI chairman Ed Greenway said. "They were only going to have (at most) eight (league) games. … Will (the crossover games) really impact seeding? Probably not. It ends up giving the A schools another competitive game."
With there being eight teams in Class C, each team in that division will face each other twice to go with various nonleaguers each team has scheduled. Class D has seven teams with each team playing the other twice in addition to nonleaguers.
Big picture: What does all this mean, besides four Far West Regional games on tap for June 3 at St. John Fisher College in Rochester?
With Class A and B teams facing each other, local fans get to see decorated Section VI champions Hamburg (Class B) and Orchard Park (Class A) meet for the first time since 2005. Not only do they meet Saturday night at 7 at Hamburg, the two also scheduled a rematch that goes down as a nonleague game May 15 at OP. Admission is free to both contests.
It also means the eventual Class B champion could potentially be more battle tested for the postseason. The tougher the in-season competition the better for whoever wins sectionals, because the addition of a class means some shuffling among reigning Section V (Rochester-area) champions/powers. That includes nationally ranked Victor, as last year's Class A state champion returns to Class B and is No. 17 in the USA Today Super 25 Rankings.
Also, Class C state finalist Penn Yan slides down to Class D. Greenway said Class C figures to be up for grabs in Section VI considering its depth locally. He also added that it will be the toughest class to win during the state tournament.
Potential Prep Talk Player of the Year: The long list of candidates includes Chiodo, Lalley, Dahl, Hill and Mazur. The winner will be honored during the June 14 Prep Talk Awards Banquet at the Hyatt Regency.