The athletic directors at several Essex schools got together and came up with an idea to create a year-round tournament.

The schools involved are Mount Carmel, Eastern Tech, Kenwood and Chesapeake-BC.  The four institutions will compete in boys and girls soccer, basketball and lacrosse, girls volleyball, softball, baseball and wrestling.

Beginning next Friday, 9/10, at 3:30 p.m. at Mount Carmel, girls volleyball will kick off the Challenge with Chesapeake squaring off with the host Cougars.  The following day, at Kenwood at 10 a.m., boys and girls soccer will compete.

“The idea is to promote local neighborhood rivalries by playing early season tournaments amongst our schools at one site,”said Mount Carmel’s athletic director Mike Naunton.  “One site allows for bigger crowds and with the cost of travelskyrocketing, this saves the schools money from travel while at the same time providing a special setting to compete.”

Individual sport champions will not be named however the schedules are balanced throughout the year with each school playing the others the same amount of times.  At the end of the 2010-2011 academic year, the school with the best record will be declared Eastside Challenge champion.

Naunton added: “In addition the schools will host an educational event in March at one of the schools that will consist of a guest speaker who has yet to be determined.”

It should be exciting throughout the year to keep an eye on which school will be crowned the best in Essex.