Realignment reconfigures Slope for teams
We didn’t forget about the new world of so-called Western Slope running. The changes were so dramatic that they get their own story in Saturday’s paper.
Local schools play in the Western Slope, and that’s about all that’s the same.
Delta’s out of the 4A Slope. Steamboat is sometimes in the 4A Slope. The 2A Slope has new faces and a new format. The 3A football Western Slope looks like its been dieting. And Vail Christian football has a completely new league.
Here’s an attempt at explaining that flow chart.
As Colorado’s population has grown and moved, assorted classifications got bigger than others. CHSAA, seeing an imbalance — 4A, for example, kept growing to the point where it had more schools than any other class, a fact not lost on either Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley — in those divisions, rejiggered the numbers upon which classifications are based to even those numbers.
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Ergo, new leagues.
The I-70 League?
Class 3A football is down to six teams — Summit County, Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Palisade, from east to west on Interstate 70.
All seven leagues in 3A football are now six teams.
Montezuma-Cortez has moved down to 2A permanently, based on a petition to CHSAA about general football woes. (Current Slope teams will miss the win on the schedule, but not the every-other-year journey to Four Corners.
Moffat County went down to 2A in the last count cycle, and, under the new counts, both Delta and Steamboat join Moffat. (Perish the thought of what Delta may do at 2A.)
And, thus, a once 10-team league is now six. League play for both the Huskies and Devils starts on Oct. 7, which sounds really weird.
Vail Christian football was changing leagues even before CHSAA announced new numbers. The Saints were going from 8-man football to Class 1A 11-man because of the school’s growth.
The best news is that Vail Christian will have nine games — honest. The Saints will not have programs dissolving the week of a game.
Nonconference is mostly the 1A Slope — Grand Valley, Cedaredge and Hotchkiss with Lake County from Tri-Peaks. The Saints are in the new 1A Foothills conference with Platte Canyon, Bennett, Clear Creek, Front Range Christian and Manual.
Two leagues into one
At 2A, the Gore and Mesa leagues are no more. Vail Christian boys basketball becomes the answer to the trivia question, “What was the only team to win the Gore League?”
For volleyball and basketball, Vail Christian and Vail Mountain are in a 13-team league with everyone — Caprock Academy, Hayden, Hotchkiss, Meeker, Paonia, Plateau Valley, Rangely Soroco, West Grand, DeBeque and North Park — playing each other once.
Sad hoops coaches
In non-football prep sports, the 4A Slope subtracts Delta as well. That sound you just heard were sighs of relief from basketball coaches Phill Tronsrue and Chris Wells. That’s never a fun trip, and, perhaps, the officiating isn’t the greatest there. Rifle, 4A in non-football, also returns to the Slope in soccer.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.