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CHSAA moves prep football, soccer and volleyball to next year, announces 2020-21 school sports dates

The Colorado High School Activities Association announced Tuesday that it is pushing traditional fall sports like football, volleyball and soccer to the winter and spring.

Cross country was added to the list of approved fall sports, joining boys golf, girls softball and boys tennis. There will be no football, soccer or volleyball in the fall, but those are scheduled to be played at a different time in the year.

The state’s COVID-19 Response Team within the governor’s office spent months looking at the return-to-play plans that CHSAA submitted and emerged with a new schedule. The new calendar divides sports into four seven-week seasons: A, B, C and D.

“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 news 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.”

Each season will last about seven weeks, and the number of regular season contests will be reduced. There will also be a shortened postseason for each sport, with fewer state qualifiers. Sports played this fall will wrap up before Oct. 17. A complete list of dates can be found at chsaanow.com.

Anticipating many questions surrounding the move of football, CHSAA NOW published a Q & A with assistant commissioner Adam Bright, who oversees football. Football will begin practice in late February and games will start March 4. The sport is allowed to begin practice a week earlier than other sports in season C due to the required number of practices before playing. The season will be composed of seven games. Eight teams from each classification will enter the postseason.

Season B will begin on Jan. 4 and include basketball, ice hockey, skiing, girls swimming, wrestling and spirit.

Season C will begin March 1 and include field hockey, football, boys soccer, girls volleyball, gymnastics and unified bowling.

Season D will start April 26 and feature baseball, girls golf, lacrosse, girls soccer, girls tennis, track and field, boys swimming and boys volleyball.

Dates for nonathletic activities are still being decided.

All activities are subject to change depending on local, state and national guidelines.

To comply with health guidelines, sports will have modifications in place that can be found at chsaanow.com/coronavirus/modifications.

CHSAA commissioner clarifies stance on sports

Yes, this is a column about a column. Yes, that’s sounds weird, but it’s significant.

In the wake of COVID-19, the CHSAA Resocialization Task Force met for the first time on Wednesday, and CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green wrote a column on Thursday on the organization’s website.

As we have said before, the CHSAA Resocialization Task Force really needs a better name. It sounds like CHSAA wants to retrain Eagle Valley quarterback Will Geiman in social skills.

Geiman: “Hi, may name is Will. What is your name?”

Tyler Morrison: “Yo, Will, I’m Tyler, your tight-end. Throw me the darn ball.”

The good news is that it seems we’re not the only people criticizing CHSAA because, as we all know, the organization doesn’t care about the Western Slope. Blanford-Green’s getting flak from around the state on her Twitter feed.

So much so that she wrote a column: “Blanford-Green: CHSAA team dedicated to resuming athletics and activities in 2020-21.”

“Trust that we are focused on resuming all activities and athletics because we know participation supports the social, mental and physical well-being of all our students,” Blanford-Green wrote.

Our imperial overlords at CHSAA generally do not find it necessary to justify themselves to us peons. Apparently, it was necessary after the Resocialization Task Force started classifying sports into lower risk, moderate risk and high risk.

Moderate risk?

Looking at fall sports, golf, not surprisingly, is lower risk, cross-country, soccer, volleyball and softball moderate and football high.

Breaking it down, cross-country, soccer and softball seem somewhat questionable for moderate risk.

With cross-country meets, the issue is the the start/finish area. At big meets, and Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley compete at the biggest, there are 300 or so runners at the start line, which ain’t good for social distancing. Can we do interval starts, one racer going off every 30 or 60 seconds? (And racers will need to clear the finish area and not congregate.)

Softball already has a solution in place. Local leagues are putting together diamonds with two bases each — one for the runner and one for the fielder, so two people aren’t heading to the exact same point. Also, collisions, be they at the plate or at second base, are already against the rules.

Soccer? All in all, there aren’t meant to be that many collisions anyway. The players use their feet and goalies wear gloves. Maybe, there’s an adjustment for throw-ins? The biggest issue is making sure everyone doesn’t jump all over each other when they score. That said, Bundesliga has been coming up with some creative celebrations without contact.

My biggest worry about volleyball is not so much the game play, but that it is indoors and attracts big crowds (ahem, a Battle Mountain-Eagle Valley affair.) Do you limit crowd size? And, looking ahead, while basketball has more contact, this might be the solution for hoops as well.

Truthfully, I’m more worried about locker rooms and buses than any contact in the above listed sports. Those are the places where a cold or flu rips through a team. Teams may need to meet in larger rooms; athletes may need to change elsewhere and parents may be corralled into carpool duty.

The answer?

Then there is football. I don’t know what you do with this sport in the age of COVID-19, but let’s remember that football is bigger deal to the rest of the state than it is in Eagle County. No disrespect to our three teams, but it’s true. And, yes, I’m aware that Eagle Valley was 5-5 last year and returned a whole bunch of players from that team.

Salvation for football may come in a bigger cultural movement, and Blanford-Green’s column is a sign of it. There’s a desire for normal and it may override risk factors. And nothing is more normal than football on Fridays.

Doubtless, parents have gained a new appreciation during the lost spring for teachers and coaches. As much as everyone loves their kids, the new school year cannot come soon enough. Throw in the NBA seeming to be on the verge of a return and the NFL being likely back in the fall, and my bet is that high school sports will return.

It may be in a different format — some leagues may have the full complement; others not. Some families may elect to have their kids sit out. That’s their prerogative. The fall season may not start in August, but September or later with modified schedules. Maybe there are state tournaments or maybe sports are confined to regions.

But sports returning is becoming more likely when CHSAA has to explain itself to us.

CHSAA gives hints about restart of preps sports

So what a low-risk sport and what’s a higher-risk sport?

Those were the first questions the CHSAA Resocialization Task Force took on during Wednesday’s meeting. The committee is brainstorming a return to high school sports in the age of COVID-19.

Golf, tennis and skiing are the sports contested by our four local high schools which fall under “lower risk.”

Cross country, soccer, softball, volleyball, baseball, lacrosse, and track and field are considered “moderate risk,” by the committee.

Football, basketball, hockey and wrestling are “higher risk.”

In a statement on CHSAA’s website, the committee said, “That the CHSAA staff explore beginning lower-risk sports at the start of the 2020-21 school year.”

As for sports considered “moderate” or “higher risk,” “the task force wants CHSAA to gather definitive interpretations of state guidelines and medical data on when it would be safe to initiate their seasons. At this point, CHSAA is not able to move forward with sports classified as moderate and high-risk. The hope is to be able to find an opportunity to play those sports at some point during the 2020-21 school year.”

Before all panic, the task force is speaking on June 3. Battle Mountain soccer (moderate) begins its schedule on Aug. 21, while local football (higher risk) starts Aug 28-29.

Eagle County moved from the green-circle to the blue-square stage of reopening on May 25. Among other things, that allows gathering of up to 50 people as long as social distancing is maintained.

Hypothetically, the county would likely need to progress to the black-diamond level to allow bigger gatherings for schools to be in session and the ensuing sporting events.

Were Eagle County to continue its progress with COVID-19, boys’ golf would be the first sport back. It seems logical, given that the sport was invented on social distancing. Player A hits his ball in the fairway. Player B hits the ball in the rough.

What’s more all four of Eagle County’s public golf courses — Vail, EagleVail, Eagle Ranch and Gypsum Creek have opened and their tee sheets have been busy, while observing COVID-19 rules.

The bigger question is how do sports that involve contact, some moreso (football) than others (soccer and volleyball), play? There is no such thing as a no-risk environment.

“The task force acknowledged that the goal in returning to play has to include mitigating the risk, as it is not possible to eliminate it entirely,” the statement said.

CHSAA divides hockey into two classes

The Colorado High School Activities Association officially split high school hockey into two different classifications on Friday.

Battle Mountain hockey will play in the newly-formed 4A division against schools more similar in size, starting with the 2020-21 season after years of going against giants from the Front Range.

This will give Battle Mountain (at last count for athletic purposes with 955 students) a fighting chance come the postseason and a possible state championship.

Twenty schools, mostly the Front Range squads, will make up Class 5A hockey, including Valor Christian (1,094), Regis (1,800), Monarch (1,714), Cherry Creek (3,654), Ralston Valley (1,850) and Lewis-Palmer (1,065), schools which have combined to win the last 13 state championships.

Battle Mountain and 16 other schools drop down to 4A. The Huskies will play in the new Mountain Conference. It’s the same circuit as the old Peak with Aspen, Crested Butte, Glenwood Springs, Summit and Steamboat Springs, but said High Country teams will have a fighting chance come the postseason.

The two other 4A conferences are the North (Kent Denver, Colorado Academy, Mullen, Rampart, Liberty and Air Academy) and the Metro (Palmer, Coronado, Pueblo County, Cheyenne Mountain and Woodland Park.)

Last year’s rating-percentage index was quite telling as the top 12 teams in the state in the rankings were now-5A schools with the top new-4A squads Summit ranked No. 13 and Battle Mountain 14th.

The last time a small school won the state title was 2007 (Aspen with a current student body of 547). Battle Mountain’s made the finals twice in 2002 and 2008 and lost each time by one goal. In 2008, current Huskies coach Derek Byron was wearing a Battle Mountain sweater.

News and notes

• Girls’s lacrosse is also splitting from one class into 5A and 4A. Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley move down to 4A.

• CHSAA also expanded the 2A girls’ soccer playoff field from 12 to 16 teams. That should be a boon to Vail Christian.

What an old front page says about 2020-21 preps sports

One of my favorite front pages of the Vail Daily is our Nov. 11, 2012 edition. The headline reads “Huskies win it all,” and the Battle Mountain soccer team, led by Joe LyBarger, is holding up the state-title trophy down at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the middle of a snowstorm.

It was a magical end to a magical season, and I’d bet the coach David Cope has several copies in his basement.

The funny thing about that front page, a copy signed by a lot of the players hangs in the lobby of our office in EagleVail, is the weather graphic. The kids of assorted local grade schools draw varied weather scenes (rain, snow, sun, etc.) and we use them with the appropriate forecast.

On Nov. 11, 2012, a fourth-grader from St. Clare of Assisi did the honors with a cubist/impressionist interpretation of snow. Alec Moritz turned out to be a better 3-point shooter than an artist at Vail Christian. Moritz graduated this month.

There is always someone working hard to become the next great athlete, say, like a fourth-grader named Alec Moritz, who is a better basketball player than an artist.
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The point of this trip down nostalgia lane? As seasons end — even one of the best campaigns ever — the next generation is on its way.

Saturday was the last of our high school graduations marking the end of the 2019-20 school year and athletic season, such as it was. That also means it’s time to get to work on 2020-21.

I’m not a doctor or public-health official, and I’ll leave the COVID-19 analysis to them. I’m just thinking that everyone involved with schools and sports wants to see students back in their buildings in a normal learning environment as long as it’s healthy. Things, knock wood, seem to be trending correctly as far as the coronavirus goes.

With schools hopefully opening this fall, we hope that sports return as well. And this offseason, it’s more incumbent than ever on student-athletes to work. Of course, there are no organized, required team workouts during the summer. No, sir. That would be against the rules.

However, if you’re a cross-country runner who happens to have a workout plan for the summer, get going.

If you’re a football player, you can practice social distancing by throwing a football. Perhaps you can lift some weights at home or do so as gyms open up safely in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. Get going.

You play soccer? Juggling drills, people. You can do that by yourself. You can also go find a patch of grass and knock the ball around. Again, in the interests of social distancing, coaches Cope, Maggie Sherman and Alex Darbut want their teams to play wide, so pass that ball while staying away from each other. Get going.

Volleyball players? Play outside. The weather’s good. Play 2-on-2. That helps you round out your skill set. Get going.

Golfers: Hit the range and play. Drive for show. Putt for dough, which means work on your short game this summer. It’s where you score. Get going. (As a bonus hint: Play better than Freud.)

The 2012 Huskies won their state title, yes, because they were good, but they also worked during the offseason as well. And as their front page shows, there’s also always someone working to be better than you even if he’s in the fourth grade.

Get going, everybody.

Senior spotlight: Eagle Valley lacrosse

This team was coming like a freight train.

Eagle Valley boys’ lacrosse went 8-7 last season, beating Battle Mountain for the first time in 10 years and making the playoffs for only the second time in the program’s history (2013). The team had 11 seniors coming back this spring.

And they weren’t your average group of seniors — the group had the balance of attackers, middies, defenders and two good goalies. This was going to be THE year for Devils lacrosse, usually an afterthought in the spring sporting landscape.

And then came COVID-19 and the halt of everything sporting on March 13. Yes, every spring sports team from all four schools had reason to be optimistic, but this is a legitimate what-if.

For Eagle Valley seniors Philip Peterson, Slade Pike, Silas Berga, Luke Jeffers, Bergen Blomquist, George Smirl, Luca Hart, Mason Yurcak, Theo McCarroll, Keenan Collett and Jordan Puntell, there will always be a dreamy quality to this nonexistent season.

“There was a lot of hype,” Devils assistant coach Weston Gleiss said. “It was definitely the most exciting and most buy-in I’ve seen in what would have been my seventh season here. I had athletes coming to me during other (sports) seasons saying, ‘I can’t wait for the season.’ It was through the roof.”

No. 2

The No. 1 reason all of Gypsum was pumped for lacrosse season was Peterson. All the guy in the No. 2 jersey did last year was rack up 54 goals and 20 assists.

Of course, it’s a team sport and one person can’t win a game by himself, but Peterson is one of those special players around which a team builds. When lax fans look around the local scene, they’ve seen Jeremy Sforzo as the heart of a Battle Mountain team that won the Western Conference in 2018 and made the state quarterfinals or Luke Verratti and Tyler Hancock at Vail Mountain who did the same for the Vail Mountain School in 2017.

Peterson was the first lacrosse player like that to suit up for Eagle Valley. In 11 of 15 games last season, he scored three goals or more. That forced opponents to change game plans. Opposing teams would be in practices before Eagle Valley games, thinking, “What do we do with No. 2?”

And that opened up a whole can of worms on the rest of the field for 48 minutes on game day.

More Petersons and company

That’s because Eagle Valley had a lot more than just Philip Peterson. In fact Philip wasn’t the only Peterson in Devils’ black and red. As a freshman, Erich Peterson had an impressive campaign last spring with 13 goals and 19 assists. And new for 2020 was Julius Peterson.

Then there was Blomquist, who had 23 goals and 16 helpers last year, and Collett (10 goals last spring). The Devils had five double-digit goal scorers returning this season. If opposing defenses tried to key on Philip, which was likely, this team had numerous other ways to win.

And that’s just offense. The Devils returned a strong defense group headed up by would-have-been four-year starting goalie Mason Yurcak.

“As a teacher and a coach, I see him do things on the field and it’s cool to see it transfer to the classroom,” Gleiss said. “He’s out there making saves and playing the ball and keeping it positive and he does it in the classroom too.”

Climbing the ladder

This year’s seniors started as sophomores on varsity and it wasn’t pretty. Eagle Valley got rolled by the best in the Western Conference. Early last spring came a gigantic 13-12 win over Battle Mountain.

It was the Devils’ first over their archrivals since the very first game in the history of the program back in 2009. While the Huskies won the second match in Edwards, there was a sense that Eagle Valley was leveling the playing field.

“We sat down at the beginning of the season and the baseline goal was winning the league,” Gleiss said. “We were setting our sights on hosting a first-round playoff game, which would be the first time we did that.”

Sports and the graduation of the Class of 2020

High school was a miserable four years for me, so it was a real shame that I couldn’t make my 30th reunion on Zoom earlier this month. And my college experience — all seven years of it — was an even greater disaster.

So, under the category of, “irony can be pretty ironic,” I cover schools and get into the spirit of graduation season.

With our six schools starting to walk (or should I say, drive, in the case of Vail Christian on Saturday; points for creativity there), a few thoughts.

Don’t take anything for granted

Schools shut down for COVID-19 on March 13 as did our high school sports scene. We retreated to our homes and watched more Netflix and other streaming services than could possibly be healthy.

For the record, I did not watch “Tiger King,” likely making me one of the few people in the United States not to do so. No judgment is cast here. We all did what we had to do. I rewatched all seven seasons of “The West Wing.”

Like many, I also took in “The Last Dance” on ESPN. I think Jerry Krause came out of it pretty well. I also think, in some ways, Michael Jordan is a very disturbed person. I was waiting for the instance in which someone took all the green M&Ms out of a bowl when His Airness was a kid and M.J. used that as motivation to drop 50 points on some unsuspecting team.

Apparently, the border between greatness and neurosis is a thin line.

The point — and surprisingly, there is a point — is that during the past two months, we have all had our worlds turned upside down. Who knew that going to the grocery store could be such a stimulating experience?

I remember thinking about how exciting it was to take a walk around Nottingham Lake one day. Wow, there’s a lake at Nottingham Lake. Hey, there’s another person 50 feet away from me. Good times. By mid-April, I was ready to cover a junior-varsity game of tag.

I ache for all the students, seniors in particular, who saw their school year come to halt outside of virtual learning. No sports. No school plays. No proms. No “all the silly things you do when you’re in high school.”

As the header indicates, good gracious, let’s not take anything for granted again. I don’t know how I got up in the ungodly hours of the morning to trudge off to San Francisco University High School way back when. But the thought of whatever class — in person — was your first-period subject probably seemed tempting by mid-April.

And, yes, that goes for sports as well. We hope that things will be back to “normal” come the fall or as normal as the new normal is. The upcoming athletic seasons are going to be special merely for the fact that they hopefully happen. (Personal note: Please, please let them happen. I need something to do. I have no life.)

When you’re at a fall practice and the coach has you do an extra lap or repeat another drill at the end of the session and you’re tired or simply not in the mood, remember the spring of 2020. Sports are a privilege, so do that extra lap or drill with gusto.

As a sports writer, I vow not to take a volleyball match, especially one that goes five and kills me on deadline, for granted. I still reserve the right to kvetch about the rating-percentage index.

Here’s to the teachers

Parents, I don’t doubt for a moment that you adore your kids. Of course, they are the light, or lights, of your life. (My parents originally planned to have two children but ceased after me. I’d like to think I was simply all the adoration they could handle.)

Of course, one of the upsides of COVID-19, if there are upsides, is that you’ve been able to have more quality time with your offspring, especially if they’re seniors and going off to college next year.

And if one takes an honest assessment of the situation, you also wouldn’t mind your kids getting out of the house and having some time for yourself. (Again, I adore my mom and miss my father, but there’s a reason I live 1,000 miles from San Francisco.) Be honest, people.

Summer vacation is fun for the family, but parents do pop the champagne or do the commensurate happy dance when the school year rolls around. Therefore, let us all appreciate the entire educational system that nurtures, educates and generally helps you with your children.

Yes, doctors and nurses are rightly the heroes of the hour, but teachers are right up there also after the past two months.

And that goes for all the coaches who are simply teachers in another venue. Be it the absence of the NCAA Tournament, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball or high school sports, athletics are a part of our culture, and high school coaches make it happen on this level.

Again, when we hopefully return to a “new normal,” show some love to those teachers and coaches.

I hope to see you all this fall.

Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley add new coaches

What does Calvin Cisneros do now?

After nearly seven years of rooting for Battle Mountain — young master Calvin turns 7 on June 1 — he’ll be rooting for Eagle Valley come girls’ basketball season.

“To be honest, he’s pretty hesitant. He grew up a Husky,” said Calvin’s dad, Vinny, Battle Mountain, Class of 2005, who is the new Eagle Valley girls’ basketball coach. “It will take him a little time to adjust. I’m sure we’ll get to that point.”

The Cisneroses are just a part of the coaching carousel of familiar faces in new places. Jim Schuppler, Battle Mountain’s football coach, is adding girls’ basketball coach to his resume.

The Devils and Huskies will also have new volleyball coaches this fall. Mike Garvey takes over in Gypsum and Shelby Crummer in Edwards. Both were the JV/assistant coaches for Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain for the last few years.

Volleyball

Welcome back, Garvey. The spiky hair is returning courtside.

“I have a few years experience back in a little school in East Vail,” he joked.

Yes, you might remember Garvey from his years as the head man at the Vail Mountain School from 1997-2015. Garvey started the program and led the Gore Rangers to the state tournament in 2001, 2002 and 2005, as well as overseeing the team’s transition from Class 1A to 2A.

He’s a walking encyclopedia of coaching experience.

Battle Mountain’s Jim Schuppler will still patrol the sidelines as the football coach, but he’s also taking over as the coach of girls’ basketball. (Jason Spannagel | Special to the Daily)
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“I’m very excited,” Garvey said. “It’s been a great change to be part of Eagle Valley’s teaching staff and an assistant coach. I’ve had time for reflection with three years out of the game and a couple of years as an assistant. It’s been an opportunity to learn and get better and come in refreshed.”

As noted, Garvey has been assisting previous head coach Jackie Rindy — the Rindy family is moving to Wisconsin; ergo the opening.

And Garvey will be facing a newcomer in the rivalry games against Battle Mountain. With the Huskies’ Jason Fitzgerald (Douglas County; still coaching a set of Huskies) moving down to the Front Range, his assistant Crummer will head up Battle Mountain this fall.

The upcoming season will be Crummer’s fifth season of coaching. She’s had stints with club, Homestake Peak School and then with Battle Mountain, and has seen the players of the current squad grow and advance in the sport.

“It’s great to understand where the kids come from,” Crummer said. “It’s not just push-push-push. You can see  how far they’ve come and that their potential is so much greater and help them get there.”

Girls basketball

Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain games this season will be coached by a son of Battle Mountain and one of the school’s adopted sons.

Cisneros who played for the Huskies and then was an assistant coach for Battle Mountain boys’ coach Philip Tronsrue will take over at Eagle Valley. He ostensibly replaces Beth Raitt.

Vinny Cisneros, left, has long been Battle Mountain boys’ basketball coach Philip Tronsrue’s right-hand man. Now, Cisneros is off to coach Eagle Valley girls’ basketball. (Jason Spannagel | Special to the Daily)
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“I feel like this program has a ton of talent,” Cisneros said. “Especially with Glenwood Springs graduating a bunch of seniors, I feel the Western Slope is wide open and competitive.”

Meanwhile, Battle Mountain will have a familiar face. Schuppler, who runs the football team in the fall, will coach girls basketball during the winter.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to connect with more athletes, and grow myself and our school,” Schuppler said. “This will be a great challenge that I am so excited about. Coaching is unlike any other thing my life, and it makes me whole.”

Senior spotlight: Vail Christian track and field

Vail Christian track and field usually has an uneventful regular season.

That’s not a dis; it’s a reality because the 2A Saints usually spend most of the spring competing against bigger 3A and 4A squads.

And then Vail Christian gets to the state meet and gets to pick on someone its own size and the medals start to flow.

This season, of course, halted by the outbreak of COVID-19, was likely no exception.

The Saints were rearing to go with seniors Hayden Sticksel, Quinn Mitchell, Micah Sharpe, John Pavelich, Sam Jaffe, Andy Stojkovich, Kiana Brausch, Abby Kuhns, Mari Engleby, Catherine Donoho, Lauren Hilty and Beka Gershenoff.

Vail Christian’s boys —  E.J. Koller, Kellen Kinsella, Luke Bowers, and Mitchell — were the defending state champions in the 800-meter relay.

Yes, there are new faces new places, but just as Battle Mountain track does distance annually, the Saints are all about being speed merchants.

If you’ve watched Mitchell play soccer as he’s done for Battle Mountain and Sticksel in Saints football and basketball, despite graduation losses, Vail Christian was going to be fast.

“Boys-wise, Sam Jaffe hadn’t run with us, but his brother had. We had big hopes for him to step up,’ Saints coach Jen Sticksel said. “We also had Andreas Ascencio. We lost all those kids, but we were getting our hopes up in practice.”

Another reason for high hopes were the ladies in the 1,600 relay. Two years ago, Brausch, Engleby, Donoho and then-frosh Kendelle Smith won state in the 4-by-4. Donoho broke her foot last year scotching plans for a repeat, but everyone was back for their senior and junior seasons, respectively.

Throw in sophomore Lolo Wilson, and it wasn’t hard seeing lots of combinations of relays and open sprints turning Vail Christian blue and silver. (And, yes, we’re still amazed that a Wilson doesn’t play soccer.)

As often happens on the Western Slope, Vail Christian also had a fun family situation this spring with mom (Jen) coaching her son (Hayden). As often happens it’s not only special to coach your offspring but all the friends who grow up with him or her. (We’re thinking the Alexander and Kuhns’ clans in the past and the Piersons in the future.)

“It’s so special to coach your kid,” Jen said. “It’s been a neat bond with track and field and sports in general. It’s sad to see it end, but it’s been a special experience.”

Will high schools field fall sports teams?

Insert the ole-timey teletype noise to accompany this breaking news.

The Colorado High School Activities Association has established the CHSAA Resocialization Task Force to study the return of sports in the upcoming school year in a world of — hopefully — diminishing COVID-19.

First of all, our benevolent overlords at CHSAA need to title things better. Leave it to the fine people who brought us the rating-percentage index, which is a dreadful name for a dreadful playoff formula.

But back to the CHSAA Resocialization Task Force — snooze — and its important points from its memo.

Do students need to be fully engaged with in-person learning before the Association resumes activities and athletics?

In a word, yes.

High school sports are not college sports or, more specifically, big-time NCAA football and basketball, which produce revenue. The reason the NCAA and its member schools are twisting themselves into pretzels to try to get a football season off this fall, regardless of whether students are back on campus, is because ESPN, CBS, and Fox play a ton of money for the games and football, in particular, pays for everything else athletic.

The fiduciary concern does not exist at the high school level.

What’s more, there’s the common-sense principle of, “If it’s not safe to hold classes, why would it be safe to have sports?”

Should CHSAA consider offering some activities and athletics if federal, state, medical and safety guidelines can be met at the local and association level?

Well, that seems logical. We hope that CHSAA doesn’t spend that much time debating this, but it’s CHSAA, so it may.

Should CHSAA consider moving some activities and athletics to later start dates, such as September, October, or January, and consider extending the end of the season further than the traditional activities calendar? Should CHSAA consider adjusting some activities and athletics to be conducted earlier or later than their traditional season?

Leave it to CHSAA to turn one question into two agenda points, but it is interesting. Do fall sports (golf, volleyball, football, soccer, cross-country and softball) have delayed starts and/or get pushed back into what would be the winter season?

A delayed start seems reasonable. Let’s get the students back in classrooms and see how it goes with regard to COVID-19, and then open up sports, a proper priority. Presumably, our fall sports teams would have reduced schedules with Western Slope League play only. (Staying on the Slope also seems a good thing as there are more virus cases on the Front Range.)

And in case you’re wondering, the 3A football league opener is Battle Mountain at Eagle Valley on Oct. 2. That might be interesting.

From a Western Slope perspective, one of the many reasons we don’t care for CHSAA is that it doesn’t give a hoot for teams outside the Interstate 25 corridor. And moving fall sports to winter would create chaos on the Western Slope.

How do Western Slope teams play football, soccer, golf and softball and run cross-country in January? (Der CHSAA, it snows up here.) Volleyball could play, but the logistics would be interesting with the basketball teams at our four schools. (And, yes, the spikers also have a conflict with club play.)

While Front Range teams could still play fall sports during the winter as the weather there is capricious, there’s also a people-power issue for combining the two seasons. Our local schools encourage multi-sport athletes and need them to have successful athletic programs.

Vail Christian and Vail Mountain, our 2A schools, can’t field football/soccer teams and basketball/skiing teams simultaneously. Last year, Jamison Lee was the quarterback and point guard for the Saints. Jamo would have been busy.

While Class 4A Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley have bigger student bodies, two seasons at once would certainly compromise competitiveness.

Let’s hope we can stick to the calendar.

What safety measures will need to be in place to resume specific and/or all activities?

CHSAA can’t answer this question and neither can we right now. And while the CHSAA Resocialization Task Force doubtless has good intentions, this question shows how powerless this committee is.

Yes, it’s the governing board of high school sports in Colorado, but, in the end, CHSAA has no power in the matter of the resumption of sports and the coronavirus.

If you followed the progression of the postponement/cancelation of spring sports, CHSAA was rightly taking its cue from Gov. Jared Polis. As Polis issued and extended the “stay at home” order, so went CHSAA.

While never shy to take a shot at CHSAA — and deservedly so, I want high school and all sports to return. Not only are we talking about my professional life, but also my raison d’etre. And I’m not the only one. We all need our sports back, be it high school, college or pro.

The CHSAA Resocialization Task Force aside, whether we have high school sports in the fall is going to depend on whether our schools and schools around the state can resume learning in the classroom safely this fall and whether Gov. Polis determines that it’s safe for large crowds to gather at sporting events.

It’s really that simple and that hard.