CHSAA extends suspension of spring prep sports seasons through April 18

Roaring Fork soccer team members Izzy Knaus, foreground, and Ari Chacos, work on their foot skills while formal practices are forbidden during the current spring season suspension related to the coronavirus concerns.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Roaring Fork High School soccer players Izzy Knaus and Ari Chacos were getting a little self-guided practice in outside the school Tuesday afternoon when they got word that the spring sports seasons will be suspended at least an extra two weeks.

“I’ve been coming out here every day to train, even though I know most of our season is going to be over before we even start,” Knaus, a junior, said, contemplating even more time away from the field with her teammates.

The Colorado High School Activities Association on Tuesday extended its current suspension of spring sports through April 18, in the ongoing response to slow the advance of the COVID-19 virus in Colorado.

The decision comes after Gov. Jared Polis announced Monday the state would be narrowing the minimum standards for public gatherings and extending the time frame to 30 days, unless otherwise revised.

Spring sports had already been suspended through April 6. The moratorium is now extended through April 18.

“I just want to be ready if we do get a chance to play,” Knaus said. “Soccer is the best part of my year, and now we don’t even have that or school anymore.”

Chacos said she, too, was anxious to play her first season of high school soccer.

“We’re just trying to get out here as much as possible, because it’s supposed to start snowing tomorrow,” Knaus added.

Students and parents are also anxiously awaiting word if school will even resume after spring break ends on March 29, but in the meantime student gatherings are highly restricted.

“CHSAA encourages schools to set stricter standards on student gatherings outside of the high school,” according to a Tuesday afternoon press release from CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green.

In addition, all CHSAA music events and the April 14 CHSAA Hall of Fame are canceled. The CHSAA Legislative Council meeting, the state speech tournament and the Student Leadership Advisor U have been postponed indefinitely.

The CHSAA office in Denver will also remain closed until March 30, with staff working remotely from home.

In Garfield County, that means baseball, girls soccer, boys and girls lacrosse, track and field and girls golf seasons will remain suspended. 

Teams are also not allowed to have formal practices during this time, and the question still remains whether schools will be allowed back in session after the current extended spring break for the Roaring Fork and Garfield Re-2 school districts, which ends March 29.

In this April 2019 file photo, Glenwood Springs defender Celia Scruton passes the ball to a teammate while being knocked to the ground in 4A Western Slope League action at Stubler Memorial Field in Glenwood.
Josh Carney / Post Independent

And, as it stands, the latest moratorium extension also impacts the Glenwood Demon Invitational Track and Field meet that had been scheduled for April 18, after which, at this point, it would be lifted.

“My initial question was in regard to the 18th of April, specifically, could we resume competition on that date,” Glenwood Springs track coach Blake Risner queried, without knowing the answer just yet.

Even so, he’s not sure his or any other team would be prepared for competition after not having had any formal practices since March 12.

This was to be the 40th edition of the Demon Invitational. 

“I have special t-shirts for this event already in hand and really was looking forward to showcasing Glenwood’s home invitational,” Risner said. “Assuming we have a season at all, I would make a legitimate attempt to reschedule the Demon Invitational.”

Risner said his track and field athletes were hit pretty hard by the news last week that they may not be able to compete at all this spring.

“Some of the veteran tracksters, like Kuba Bartnik and Sophia Vigil, were brought to tears at the prospect of losing their season,” he said. “But they immediately turned their frustration into motivation to continue their training in hopes of salvaging their season.  

Risner has been posting personal workouts on the team website, “if, for no other reason, to maintain my sanity and calm my extreme sense of loss,” he said.

Kuba, a senior sprinter for the Demons, has also been organizing off-campus workouts via social media.

Meanwhile, CHSAA officials said they will recognize individual participants from the CHSAA State Basketball Championships last weekend, with a memento in the coming weeks “to recognize their leadership and resolve during that week.” The state basketball tournaments for all classifications were halted after last Thursday’s games had concluded.

“National and state decisions related to the COVID-19 virus are changing daily, even hourly, so new updates will be posted on and communicated via email to schools and media,” CHSAA said in the Tuesday news release.

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