The new athletic year in Aurora Public Schools comes with mostly minor changes, according to district athletic director Mike Krueger.
For 2017-18, Krueger is most excited about the advent of online athletic registration in the district, an innovation that’s expected to save time and paperwork as it has in other districts that have had it previously.
A new sportsmanship campaign is also set to roll out in the new few weeks ahead of the start of official fall practices on Aug. 14.
“It’s always fun to get going and see things get started,” said Krueger, who begins his fourth year with APS.
Two APS high schools have new athletic directors in Aurora Central with Rob Harrison and Steve Stobaugh and Vista PEAK with John Sullivan, who replace Dan Lliteras and Mike Hughes, respectively. Lliteras retired and Hughes accepted the AD position at Lakewood High School.
Harrison arrived at Aurora Central from Arizona last year to take over the boys basketball program and he is now set to handle the majority of the AD duties for the school, while Stobaugh — who took over as the school’s wrestling coach last year — will take over when needed.
Sullivan, meanwhile, is a veteran teacher and coach in the APS district and currently serves as Vista PEAK’s head football coach.
Rob Varner (Gateway), Rodney Padilla (Hinkley) and Vic Strouse (Rangeview) return to their AD posts for another year.
Facilities-wise, the biggest change at the prep level comes at Rangeview, which is currently in the process of installing light standards around the turf field behind the school.
The construction of the new Mrachek Middle School took away a couple of practice fields used by Rangeview sub-varsity teams and other activities on the other side of East Evans Avenue to the north of the school.
With no ability to build fields elsewhere on campus, the district chose a plan to make best use of Rangeview’s current facilities. The addition of light standards to the already well-used turf field and surrounding track would allow for later practices and a few games.
Krueger said four light standards will be installed and use state-of-the-art LED lights designed to minimize the reach of the lights into the surrounding neighborhood.
The school held a public meeting with neighbors to detail the project and address their concerns, which primarily had to due with how late the lights would stay on at night as well as traffic congestion in the neighborhood if games were played there after dark.
“We wanted to remain good community partners,” Krueger said. “We were very concerned about the impact on the community, but the lights we have will have a zero candle cutoff at the Rangeview property. And we aren’t going to be running them into the late night.”
APS continues to pursue grants that could be used to build turf athletic fields at Aurora Central and Gateway, which don’t have them yet.
Krueger said the district is also looking at building a new press box at its main district athletic site, Aurora Public Schools Stadium, in the near future.
Among new programs, Aurora West College Prep adds cross country this season’s to its current offerings of volleyball and soccer.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel