Seattle Pacific to host championship festival in fall of 2022

Event headed to West Coast for first time, coaches react.

Mesaged Abakar, Staff Reporter

Interbay Stadium will be the location of Men’s and Women’s Soccer games during the 2022 Fall Festival. (Jacky Chen)

Athletes compete for championships every year, but in 2022, the NCAA Division II fall championships will be coming to Seattle Pacific University, as was announced on Oct. 13.

“We’re extremely excited to be able to host a fall festival here in Seattle. The fall festival is really one of the seminal events in Division II. It is different from anything Divisions I or Divisions III offer in terms of a national championship experience,” said SPU Athletic Director Jackson Stava. “There has never been a festival in the fall, winter or spring west of the Rocky Mountains.”

The Division II Championships Festival began in 2004, and takes place every year or every other year, alternating between fall, winter and spring sports. Festival events happen in the same area to promote a larger audience and a bigger crowd. Washington joins the rotation by hosting the fifth fall festival.

The Championships will include sports such as men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball, and women’s field hockey. Women’s volleyball will be held at Royal Brougham Pavilion on campus. Men’s and women’s soccer will be held at Interbay stadium. The men’s and women’s cross-country championship will be hosted at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington and Starfire Sports complex in Tukwila will host women’s field hockey championships.

“It will be really fun to be able to have this community all here with exposure to our school and also in the city of Seattle which is a great sports environment,” said SPU Head Volleyball Coach Abbie Wright. “I think it is going to be an awesome experience for all the sports that get to participate.”

Interbay Stadium remains open for both SPU Falcon Men’s and Women’s soccer practices. (Jacky Chen)

SPU and the Seattle Sports Commission will host multiple championships. Over 900 student athletes flew around the country to compete at the last Division II Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2018.

“Sometimes playing in front of people you know maybe could be more nerve-racking than going somewhere else but that is part of maturing and the process we are trying to learn right now.” said Wright.

There had been 86 championships announced over a 4-year period. According to the press release, this process now gives the NCAA and host sites more time to schedule each championship.

There will be 19 different states that will see at least one version of the NCAA Championships between 2022 and 2026: Alabama, California, Colorado, Indiana, Texas, and Wisconsin are some of the states that will host an event between those years.

“It’s certainly going to be a lot of work and it is going to take a lot of time, effort, and energy but we’re excited to have the Division II community come to Seattle,” said Stava

The festivals take place on a rotating basis during the fall, winter and spring sporting seasons, giving student-athletes a chance to attend at least one of them during their intercollegiate athletics careers.

“It is a festival year which is different than having a single sport being here. It is the fall sports getting the opportunity to come and compete together, so there is a sense of unity within Division II,” said Women’s Soccer head coach Arby Busey.

The festival will give student-athletes the opportunity to interact with athletes from other schools. Most teams will not make it to the finals in Seattle, however. A team must win their region to be among the final eight teams, a grueling task in itself, and defeat one more opponent to make it to the tournament in Seattle. This is the case for every sport except for cross-country, which takes around 35 men’s teams and 35 women’s teams.

“If we were fortunate enough to be there, I think it would be a really fun event for the university, for the city to have a local team in there.” said Busey.