Challenges await Grand Valley High School football team in classification move
Ryan Summerlin November 21, 2013
PARACHUTE — Grand Valley High School’s football team might be dropping down a classification for football, but the Cardinals’ travel expenses might go up in the 2014 season.
The Cardinals’ anticipated move from the 2A Western Slope League to the 1A WSL could potentially increase travel costs for the school. That’s because Grand Valley would have to clear a scheduling hurdle, which would come with two more nonleague games to schedule while the team plays in a smaller league.
“We might end up with more travel time because of all of the potential scenarios,” Grand Valley Athletic Director David Walck said.
Those scenarios come because of Grand Valley’s falling enrollment. The school’s enrollment at the beginning of October, Walck said, is 288 students. That puts them below the 300-student minimum enrollment to play football at the 2A level, as required by the Colorado High School Activities Association.
The move would place the Cardinals in the same league as Paonia, Meeker, Hotchkiss, Cedaredge and Lake County (Leadville). That creates a five-game league schedule, giving Grand Valley two more nonleague games than in the eight-team 2A WSL.
That, however, also leaves little wiggle room, Walck said. Some 2A schools might be hesitant to play nonleague games against 1A teams because of the Wildcard points system, which can determine if a team reaches the state playoffs based on its strength of schedule. On the other hand, playing down a classification for nonleague games wouldn’t be doable, since it would entail playing 8-man football teams.
“We’re going to make it work, though,” Walck said.
Moving down a class from 4A to 3A for boys and girls soccer will be Rifle High School. Both teams have struggled in the past two seasons, with Rifle’s girls soccer program going winless this past spring (0-14-0), and the boys team finishing 1-13-0 overall this past fall.
Rifle Athletic Director Troy Phillips said there’s no youth soccer program, either. He stated that Rifle had just one 14-and-under youth soccer team, and it’s a co-ed team.
“I would imagine that we’re going to have a tougher time against some of the better teams in the league,” said Phillips, noting the recent successes of the boys and girls programs at Coal Ridge, Roaring Fork and Basalt. “But against some of the lower teams in the league, we’ll have a much better chance to be competitive.”
The changes won’t take effect until the fall of 2014. Rifle’s girls soccer team will play this coming spring in the Class 4A Western Slope League.