Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

Season B sports soon to commence, with many changes

By: Dan Karpiel | The Surveyor | January 15, 2021 | Sports

This week marked the return to in-person learning for K-5 students in the Thompson School District with middle and high school students set return in the next two weeks.

With the return of school comes the return of sports. The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) announced an amended schedule back in August and said schedule has undergone several revisions in the months since. The most recent change moved the beginning of traditional winter, this year called “Season B,” sports from Jan. 4 to Jan. 18 after initially declaring that sports would not be permitted to begin until February.

Following blowback from student-athletes and parents, CHSAA worked with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to secure a variance that would allow high school basketball, wrestling, girls swimming and diving and competitive spirit to begin practicing on Jan. 18 with contests allowed to begin the week after, on Jan. 25.

A press release announcing the variance read, “Following multiple meetings in the past week, including this weekend, CHSAA has secured variances from CDPHE and state officials which will allow all Season B sports and activities to begin practice on Jan. 18. Through collaborative negotiations, the Jan. 18 start date aligns with Gov. Jared Polis’ announcement to prioritize in-person or hybrid learning models.”

This week, CHSAA began announcing the details of what the Season B sports will look like and, unsurprisingly, there will be a lot of differences from years past including shortened seasons, limited travel, smaller postseason pools and enhanced sanitation and safety protocols.

The seasons in all sports have been shortened, both boys and girls basketball will be allowed a maximum of 14 regular season games, down from 23 games in ordinary years. The basketball postseason has also been trimmed from a 48-team bracket to ta 32-team bracket; state playoffs will begin on March 9 and the state championships are scheduled for March 19 and 20.

In a controversial decision that has been widely scorned on social media, basketball players will be required to wear masks at all times, including while playing. Berthoud High School (BHS) Athletic Director Michael DeWall told the Surveyor on Tuesday that the Spartan squads have been preparing for such a requirement, practicing with masks on during their offseason activities and club competition. DeWall was complimentary of how coaches Alan Gibson and Todd Sandstedt have been preparing their respective teams for the mask requirement.

Wrestling will be permitted a maximum of 20 duals with the regular season concluding on Feb. 27, regionals slated for March 5-6 and the state championships March 12-13. Traditionally, state wrestling takes place on the third weekend of February; the plan is still for the tournament to be held at Ball Arena (formerly Pepsi Center). Regionals will feature 16-wrestler brackets but state will be shortened with eight-wrestler brackets.

Wrestlers will not be required to wear masks while on the mat. As DeWall explained, contract tracing is more efficient in wrestling as it is a one-on-one sport while with basketball there are 10 athletes on the floor at all times, hence the mask requirement.

DeWall said he and BHS wrestling coach Will Carron are working on putting together the duals schedule for the season and will be allowed some “tris” and “quads” where three or four teams compete, respectively, in a single venue with greatly enhanced sanitation procedures taking place between matches. The annual Diny Picket Spartan Classic wrestling tournament, along with all of the other high-profile, multi-team events, will not be held this season.

Girls swimming and diving will see the fewest changes and masks won’t be required during competition. Swimming will be permitted a maximum of just seven contests but DeWall explained that schools must petition the state for permission to compete with teams outside their league. Berthoud’s league consists of just five schools, meaning only four possible meets. DeWall said he and coach Matthew Goldsmith are working on securing more. This year, the regional championships will be held at Mountain View rather than at Thompson Valley and the 3A state championships will be held on March 13.

Schedules for the BHS teams can be found at the school’s athletic department website at www.berthoudspartans.org.

 

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