AURORA | The suspense is over — at least for now — for fall sports athletes and teams from the Cherry Creek School District, which learned they will be able to compete.
CCSD Superintendent Scott Siegfried originally stated that the district would not participate in fall sports if it started the school year remotely due to the threat of COVID-19. That outcome was averted Thursday when Siegfried announced that high schools and middle schools would have a hybrid blend of in-person and remote learning, while grades K-5 begin in person.
Athletes in the district will be able to compete in a small number of fall sports — boys golf, softball, boys tennis and cross country — as detailed by the Colorado High School Activities Association’s much-anticipated and vastly revised prep sports calendar it revealed Tuesday after its proposal got approved by Gov. Jared Polis’ office. Football, typically the anchor of the fall season, is among a handful of sports pushed to the spring.
“I think there was a lot of unease, like ‘are we even going to have sports and what does it look like?’” CCSD Athletic Director Larry Bull told the Sentinel. “There was unease there, but I think everybody worked really hard to put the best situation for our kids in the safe manner during the pandemic. We are in a pandemic. Is it perfect? No, but it is it giving opportunities for kids to compete? Yes.”
On Tuesday, Aurora Public Schools approved participation of teams in fall sports, despite the fact the district will begin school with all remote learning until Oct. 17.
Boys golfers in both districts already went through their practice period and some opened regular season play this week, while softball and boys tennis can begin practice Monday and cross country can get underway with practice Wednesday. The remaining three sports can begin competition later in the week, Aug. 13 for softball and boys tennis and Aug. 15 for cross country.
The new calendar from the CHSAA — one of the latest in the country to be released — moved from a traditional three-sport athletic season to a quadrant system that saw a handful of fall sports (football, volleyball, boys soccer, field hockey and gymnastics) pushed back into the spring.
Bull believes there is a “method to the madness” of the calendar, especially with the planning of only four sports before the new year.
“The good news is that the four sports we have are manageable and we have a time where we can really fine tune some things,” he said. “Let’s get those four up and running first.”
Athletic directors in both districts have been working hard on schedules because of the reduction in season size for each sport other than boys golf.
Many district coaches held summer workouts after CCSD opened its facilities June 15 and they got used to the required health protocols such as temperature checks, health questions, cohort training and frequent sanitizing of equipment.
“I think the protocols went very well,” Bull said. “Our kids and parents have unbelievable in this time. …In a crummy time, its exciting that we have something to look forward to.”
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports