Western Slope League football teams could realign in 2014
Post Independent Sports Editor
Glenwood Springs and Rifle High schools could end up in a five-team league for football, and Roaring Fork and Grand Valley could trade places in the Class 2A Western Slope League, according to reclassification proposals released this week.
The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) released a list of possible classification moves schools could make beginning in the 2014 season. CHSAA maintains a two-year classification cycle for its member schools in an effort to maintain competitive balance.
Current proposals include Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale moving up from the Class 1A to 2A Western Slope League for football. By contrast, it also includes Grand Valley of Parachute petitioning to drop down from the Class 2A WSL to 1A.
Reclassification is primarily based on a school’s enrollment to determine in which classification it competes, but other factors, such as an area’s income demographics and its location, are also considered. Classifications for football are also different from other sports since football typically commands a larger number of players for a team.
The proposals are only in the initial stages now, CHSAA assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann said, adding that no serious talks will be made on reclassification until October.
“Everything is very fluid right now,” Borgmann said.
Also a possibility is the departure of four teams from the Class 3A Western Slope League in football. Moffat County in Craig, Battle Mountain in Edwards and Montezuma-Cortez have petitioned CHSAA to drop down to 2A. Meanwhile, Palisade’s increase in enrollment could move it from Class 3A to 4A next year.
That would leave just five teams — Glenwood Springs, Steamboat Springs, Rifle, Delta and Eagle Valley — as the remaining Class 3A teams for football.
“We would have to look at a league realignment,” Glenwood Springs Athletic Director Craig Denney said. “It would all be determined by what’s available around us.”
One possibility could be Summit High School in Breckenridge, which joined the WSL last year. Summit, however, still plays football in the Denver Metro West League, and realignment could leave an opening for the Tigers to join the WSL in football in 2014.
However, a drop down in classification for Battle Mountain, Cortez and Moffat County could make the 2A WSL huge. The addition of Roaring Fork, along with the previous three schools, could create a 10-team league which would also include Coal Ridge, Aspen, Basalt, Olathe, Bayfield, and Pagosa Springs.
That could present another possibility. Denney and Borgmann each said that given travel and geographic circumstances, a possible new hybrid league which combines 3A and 2A schools for football could be a possibility. That’s not an unheard of idea — the Southwestern League pits Class 4A schools like Montrose and Durango up against 5A schools like Grand Junction and Fruita Monument.
Grand Valley’s anticipated enrollment for 2013 — 288 — is scheduled to be finalized at the beginning of October. That would leave the school 12 students under the cutoff number of 300 for 2A football. Grand Valley’s enrollment is listed a 335 in the 2013 CHSAA preseason football bulletin.
“We live in a very transient community, so our numbers fluctuate a lot,” Grand Valley Athletic Director David Walck said. “But really, even if we do drop down for football, there’s still a ton of great competition down there at 1A.”
Other proposed changes would include Silver Creek’s football team, which beat Rifle for the 3A state title last season, moving up to 4A. The Classification and League Organizing Committee of CHSAA will meet next on Nov. 12, according to CHSAA’s Web site. All changes need to be approved by not only by the committee, but by each of the respective leagues that are affected.
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