CHSAA releases modified sports seasons schedule

SUN photo/Terri House
Pagosa Springs High School cross-country coach Rachael Christiansen runs with athletes during a summer workout recently. On Tuesday, the Colorado High School Activities Association released a modified sports season schedule for the upcoming school year.

By Randi Pierce
Staff Writer

Sports will look a little different this year for Colorado high school athletes, including those at Pagosa Springs High School (PSHS).

The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) announced its 2020-2021 athletics and activities calendar Tuesday after receiving the go-ahead from the state.

“The health and safety of our student participants, coaches, officials and essential personnel, including volunteers is a primary concern for the return of interscholastic athletics and activities,” said CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green in a Tuesday press release. “We are very grateful for the state, health and educational leaders for their shared commitment of a return to these highly beneficial education programs when it is deemed safe for all school communities.”

CHSAA’s press release notes that the calendar follows “months of collaboration with Gov. Jared Polis, the CHSAA Resocialization Task Force, the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, the state’s COVID-19 Response team, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the CHSAA Board of Directors and administrative staff.”

“I am super excited that all of the sports have a season,” said PSHS Athletic Director Marcie Ham. “I think it’s great that they’re all going to have the opportunity to play.”

Instead of three seasons like normal, the upcoming school year will be split into four shortened seasons — seasons A, B, C and D — with some traditional fall sports moved to next spring to increase the likelihood of an uninterrupted season and because they cannot be played under the current guidelines.

“Due to the restrictive nature of the current state guidelines, and the ability to follow Colorado Department of Education requirements, all contact sports have been moved to a season which will commence later in the calendar, and allow for playoffs and culminating events without creating new conflicts,” the press release notes.

“This was a contingency plan,” Blanford-Green said during a Tuesday press conference on the seasons, noting that CHSAA was optimistic it would be able to start on time with the traditional seasons.

Under this year’s four-season system, CHSAANow.com explains, “Each season is approximately seven weeks from start to finish. Sports will have their regular season competition limits reduced. The postseason for each sport will also be shortened, including the number of state qualifiers.”

For PSHS, fall sports, or Season A, will include golf, which began on Aug. 3 and will conclude Oct. 5 and 6, and cross-country, which will begin Aug. 12 and conclude on Oct. 17.

There is then a break until January, with Season B set to include basketball, spirit competition, girls’ swimming and wrestling at PSHS.

Those sports will begin on Jan. 4, 2021, and will run through early March, with basketball and wrestling set to conclude on March 6, 2021.

Season C will include football, boys’ soccer and girls’ volleyball at PSHS.

Football is slated to begin Feb. 22, 2021, and boys’ soccer and girls’ volleyball are set to begin on March 1, 2021. Those seasons will run through early May.

Season D will begin in late April and will include track and field, baseball and girls’ soccer, with that season set to conclude in late June.

“In anticipation of data from the state which shows a likely resurgence of COVID-19 cases in late fall, there will be a participation moratorium from Oct. 18, 2020 to Jan. 3, 2021,” CHSAANow.com states.

At his Tuesday press conference, Polis also acknowledged there will be outbreaks, teams that won’t be able to play for periods of time and that some athletes won’t participate due to coronavirus concerns, but expressed that he’s “thrilled” student athletes will be able to participate in sports.

Ham noted that the changes in seasons will mean there will be more logistical work when it’s already complicated to coordinate use of the high school’s only gym, and pointed out that some sports may play at different times (Saturday football games are a possibility instead of Friday night, for example) due to the changed seasons.

But, she told The SUN, the school’s coaches are all on board and are excited to know when their seasons are so they can plan.

“We have amazingly positive coaches and they are all on board,” she said, noting that there were no negative comments from the coaches.

Sport-specific details are expected to be released Thursday, Aug. 6 via CHSAANow.org.

Ham noted that PSHS is not sure what its next steps will be, but that Intermountain League representatives are meeting Friday.

This story was posted on August 7, 2020.