Practices for basketball and the others sports in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Season B (wrestling, girls swimming, ice hockey, skiing and competitive spirit) are allowed to begin practice on Monday. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | The long-awaited — and slightly earlier — arrival of the start of Season B prep sports season in Colorado began Monday.

In the city and around the state, boys and girls basketball players, boys and girls wrestlers, girls swimmers, ice hockey players, skiers and teams of competitive spirit can began practice with just a week to prepare before the start of the regular season.

Variance approvals from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in December allowed the Colorado High School Activities Association to start practice for Season B a week earlier than originally projected due to the activity of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

To briefly recap changes in sports for the upcoming season: Basketball players must wear masks at all times during practices and games, wrestlers also must don face coverings except for the brief period of time they are on the mat for matches, swimmers must have masks on until they reach the blocks to enter the water and must put them back on when they get out, ice hockey players must wear masks except when out on the ice during competition and competitive spirit teams are allowed to remove masks only for the short duration of their competitive routes.

Seeking more “peace of mind” as to the safety of participating in Season B, Aurora Public Schools last week began the first round of mandatory COVID-19 testing for its coaches and athletes.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports