Like school districts across the state, Primero is in the midst of making needed adjustments to its spring sports season after the Colorado High School Athletics Association (CHSAA) recently announced several changes to the proposed start date for seasons ‘B’ through ‘D.’
Initially, CHSAA pushed back the start date for season ‘B’ from Jan. 4 until the first week of Feb., citing uncertainties of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the driving force behind the change.
In a letter sent to CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Greenthe letter, Jill Hunsaker Rye, executive director of the CDPHE said, “At this time, we do not have enough information about what disease incidence and hospitalization capacity will look like in January, and therefore are unable to make a determination regarding indoor high school athletics in Season B. Season B high school sports would operate based on the restrictions in the level of the Dial in the county in which the school resides. For counties in Level Red, this means no indoor group sports are authorized.
“In addition, our top goal for the new year is to support a return to in-person learning. Season B sports are conducted mainly indoors during the colder months, which reduces the ability to assure social distancing. This in turn may further promote disease transmission at a time when we need to ensure that students and teachers are protected, and that in-person learning is the highest priority.”
This change effectively pushed back the start dates for seasons ‘B’ through ‘D’ for one month, with each season limited to seven weeks in length. Season ‘B’ includes boys and girls basketball, skiing, wrestling, girls swim and dive, ice hockey and spirit.
On Dec. 21, CHSAA announced another adjustment to the spring sports schedule after obtaining variances from CDPHE that allow for a start date for season ‘B’ practices to move up to Jan. 18, with games to follow starting Jan. 25.
“The impact of these changes on Primero has been significant, as all basketball games previously scheduled with other teams for the month of Jan. had to be scrapped,” said Principal Blake Byall. “Coach Esquivias, the athletic and activities director at Primero, is in the process of finalizing what’s turning out to be the third version of both volleyball and basketball schedules for both middle school and high school programs.”
Another layer of change for the Bulldogs that is complicating matters is the district’s move to a new league this year, meaning it will face off this spring against a new batch of schools.
“The Bulldogs this year will play the likes of Walsh, South Baca, Kim, Manzanola, Springfield, and La Veta as Arkansas Valley League opponents. Gone are the matchups with schools in the Southern Peaks League: Sangre De Christo, Moffat, Cotopaxi, Antonito, Centennial, Creede and others,” said Byall.
“Primero will continue to explore scheduling games with larger schools in order to hone its competitive edge. Trinidad, Las Animas, and Raton are possible matchups for the current season and hopefully in future years.”
The changes to season ‘B’ are causing a ripple effect of changes for seasons ‘C’ and ‘D’ as well.
“Changes for the upcoming volleyball (Season C) and track season (Season D) will become more evident as we get closer to those start dates. We are currently in a ‘wait and see’ mode where all our plans are involved,” Byall said.
“The one constant in all of this change and adjustment remains the commitment our coaching staff, school administration, student athletes, and community supporters provide to ensure our teams are as competitive and prepared as possible for any contingency. At Primero, it’s ‘game on’ time. We may be playing to empty gyms and auditoriums for the near future, but COVID-19 or not, the Bulldogs will be the architects of their own destiny where the remainder of the sports year is concerned.”