Masks on for basketball: CHSAA gives details for winter preps sports
How does one keep a mask on while playing?
If you play high school basketball, you will be wearing a mask.
The Colorado High School Activities Association, the governing body of of prep sports, announced a slew of details on Wednesday for the upcoming Season B, aka winter-sports season. All the sports in which Eagle County’s four high schools compete— boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ wrestling (yes, the latter becomes official this season), Alpine and Nordic skiing, wrestling and ice hockey — are still a go despite COVID-19 pandemic.
The talker, though, will be masks on the hardwood. Coaches, referees and, yes, players will be masked.
“We don’t have a choice,” Vail Christian basketball coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “The way it was explained to me is that Colorado Public Health said we have masks or we don’t have a season.”
So bring on the masks for hoops. However, as anyone who has gone to a grocery store or done some other errand away from the house knows, keeping that mask in place — over the nose — is difficult. As for keeping a mask on during 32 minutes — or 32 minutes, 9 seconds, if Vail Christian is playing in Paonia this year — that would seem to be a challenge.
The bottom line is that everyone is still on schedule for first practices Jan. 18 — yes, everyone has holding “informal” sessions currently — with first contests on Jan. 25.
Here are more of the details on Season B, as released by CHSAA.
The boys and the girls — Classes 1A-5A — will play 14, instead of 23 games. Class 4A Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley will presumably play a full league slate of home-and-home games with Summit, Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Palisade and each other, leaving two nonconference games for the teams.
The 4A state tourneys are down to 32 teams, as opposed to 48. For 2A Vail Christian and Vail Mountain, CHSAA has set up a 24-team state tournament — down from 32 — but made no mention of the traditional regular-season-ending district tournaments.
Hockey was already going to have a new look with the sport splitting in 5A and 4A for what was originally the 2020-21 season. Battle Mountain hockey, which actually is a a combination of all four schools, was already excited about being grouped with similar-sized schools, instead of having to play schools like Cherry Creek and Monarch.
Battle Mountain plays 13 games total with, in theory, 10 games within the Mountain Conference with Summit, Aspen, Steamboat, Glenwood and Crested Butte.
Only four teams will qualify for the state tournament, but, again, Battle Mountain is punching at its own weight class this season.
The biggest issue is that only 75 racers at a maximum are allowed at a race, meaning that fewer athletes will have an opportunity to race. Since that maximum of 75 also applies to the state meet at Beaver Creek and Maloit Park, it’s going to be much harder than usual to qualify for the big dance.
On a happy note, this year’s endless awards banquet on the final day of the state meet is canceled.
The biggest news is that the sport is still scheduled as a go, despite COVID. The traditional weekend tournaments, spanning all of Saturday or Friday and Saturday, are out. (The Eagle Valley Invite would normally be this week and has long been scrubbed.)
The regular season will be duals only, with a maximum of four teams congregating at the same time. Wrestlers have 20 regular season bouts and then it’s off to regionals.
Only two wrestlers from each weight class — usually, it’s three or four, depending on classification — will qualify for state. State will have eight wrestlers per division.
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