COLORADO SPRINGS — The high schools sports scene will look a lot different this upcoming school year, as much of the world does at the moment. Tuesday, CHSAA released its athletics calendar for the 2020-2021 season after months of discussion with the governor’s office and public health officials.
“My first impressions [of the schedule] were positive because it gives kids and opportunity,” District 11 Athletic Director Chris Noll said. “Is the calendar perfect? No, the calendar’s not perfect, but the calendar does give our kids a great opportunity to compete and participate… Our kids last spring didn’t get that opportunity.”
Noll is looking to spread positivity and hope among D11 student-athletes and coaches amid changes to the traditional sports season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The sports calendar, approved by the state COVID response team, shifts high school sports into four seasons labeled A, B, C, and D. The biggest change may be the change in fall contact sports, including football, boys soccer, and girls volleyball, moving into Season C with a March start time.
“Sports in general is about overcoming adversity, it’s about not just giving up when things are difficult,” Brian Jewell, the Cheyenne Mountain boys soccer coach, said. “Things are difficult right now, but if you keep that positive frame of mind and hopefully we’ll just gear towards the season in March and everything will work itself out.”
Moving forward, there’s still plenty of work to be done for athletic directors as they adjust to shorter schedules and scheduling conflicts. Noll believes though CHSAA has done the best it can considering the circumstances as D11 continues to keep safety a priority.
“People keep talking about the safety of our kids. It’s more than just the safety of our kids,” Noll said. “It’s the safety of our coaches. Some of our coaches are in that at-risk category. Our officials associations are not getting younger…. our team is in connection with the El Paso County Health Department and following all CDC guidelines and those kinds of things, so for the most part I think that we’re all on the same page in terms of what happens if there’s a positive test.”
Student-athletes will be making adjustments as well, like juggling both a school sports season and club or travel team as the 2020-2021 girls volleyball and boys soccer seasons overlap with traditional club seasons.
“Honestly, I’m glad we get to have a season as of right now. It’s not ideal obviously,” Adrianne Dettler, the Palmer girls volleyball coach, said. “As a club coach myself it’s going to be an interesting juggle between the two and I really hope the girls don’t have to choose. I really hope we can come up with a collaborative way so they can do it all together.”
If anything, 2020 has been far from a traditional year and Noll agrees it’s best to roll with the punches.
“I think that what people have to realize is when these decisions are made they’re not made with only one kid or one school or one sport in mind… decisions were made of what’s in the best interests of the whole,” Noll said. “We’re in this together and we’re going to do what’s in the best interest of our kids and our staff.”