AURORA | Casey Powell spent an enjoyable evening in the press box and on the field at Aurora Public Schools Stadium April 6, like he had many times this school year.
Usually there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other people with him when the APS Athletic Director at the well-used venue located at Hinkley High School, but he was virtually alone this time in the new normal of the coronavirus.
Still, there was some comfort in doing a mandatory test of an impressive new, cost-effective system of LED lights that had been installed at the stadium, which will be used when prep games and meets resume. Whenever that is.
“It was great, finally getting out and getting over there was just nice,” Powell said. “It felt like home and doing my job again.”
It will be one of the last sports-related things Powell will be able to do in the spring due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Powell had hoped that the season could be saved in some form or fashion, but it won’t be in either Aurora Public Schools or Cherry Creek Schools, which were part of a join agreement with 12 other Metro Area districts to shut school doors for the remainder of the school year and complete instruction remotely. That took with it the ability to compete.
The Colorado High School Activities Association — which suspended the spring prep sports season on March 12 (its official opening day) for a period that is now extended to April 30 — has yet to call an official end to the spring campaign, however.
Gov. Jared Polis extended the state’s stay-at-home order from April 11 to April 26, but currently that is still within the timeframe the state’s governing body has set for evaluating if the season can continue safely in some form or fashion.
“The recent closing of some schools and districts, and Gov. Polis’ extension of the stay-at-home order, hasn’t changed the timeline we established on April 1,” CHSAA Commisioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said in a statement on CHSAANow.com.
Blanford-Green urged athletes to abide by state orders as they try to work out on their own to stay ready in case the season comes back.
“We encourage everyone to follow all guidance from the state in terms of social distancing, and staying at home,” she said. “ We have seen recent postings of students gathering for athletic purposes of group workouts. This is disheartening that adults would place our students in situations that may not be in the best interest of their safety and well-being, and those of their community.
“The more that we follow federal and state guidelines, the sooner we can get back to the activities that we all love.”
While the 14 school districts put an end to the possibility of sports, Regis Jesuit — which has remained in an online format since it returned from Spring Break on March 23 — hasn’t yet declared its campus closed according to Director of Communications Charisse Broderick-King.
That would mean Regis Jesuit — and any other school in a similar position — could possibly return to competition if it happened again, but Boys Division Athletic Director Kelly Doherty said the school would follow the lead of the Archdiocese of Denver, which is expected to make an announcement soon.
Doherty is highly doubtful that prep sports will resume, however.
“We haven’t canceled everything yet and we’re in a holding pattern (as of press time), but we’ll wait to see what the Archdiocese will say,” Doherty said.
As soon as news of the school closures broke, Aurora spring prep athletes and coaches took to social media to express their sorrow at the loss of the season.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports