PARACHUTE — David Walck knows where Grand Valley High School’s football team will be playing during the 2014 season. Sort of.
The Grand Valley athletic director confirmed on Monday that the school will drop down to the Class 1A level for football since its falling enrollment numbers fall below the minimum required to continue playing at the Class 2A level. That, along with many other changes, are anticipated when the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Classification and League Organizing Committee today decides on the state’s league alignments for the 2014-16 school years.
Grand Valley, which saw its enrollment numbers reach more than 400 students during the mid-2000s thanks in part to the oil and gas boom in the area, reported current enrollment numbers as of this past October at 288 students. That falls below the 300 students required to play football at the 2A level.
Walck and Cardinals football coach Mike Johnson entertained the notion of petitioning to play up at the 2A level since, to them, there’s almost no disparity in skill level between the 1A and 2A Western Slope Leagues. Walck, however, said Monday the school would go “with what the numbers say,” citing travel costs for the school could be saved by playing in the 1A WSL.
The decisions the CLOC makes today will determine the makeup of the WSL at the 3A, 2A and 1A levels. Most decisions which are made today will move teams for football — and no other sport — since enrollment numbers for football in Colorado differ from enrollment requirements for all other sports.
In Class 3A, Glenwood Springs and Rifle will stay put, but Palisade and Central High School are expected to swap places in classification. Palisade is expected to move into the 5A/4A Southwestern League for football because of growing enrollment, and Grand Junction Central is expected to move down to Class 3A for football because the school’s program has struggled.
In 2A, Roaring Fork will move up from Class 1A, essentially trading places with Grand Valley. However, Bayfield, Pagosa Springs, Olathe and Gunnison could join, or form, a more localized league. That’s because Montezuma-Cortez and Moffat County are petitioning to move from the 3A WSL to 2A with schools like Coal Ridge, Roaring Fork, Basalt and Aspen, along with Roaring Fork.