The beginning of the 2013-14 school year started the second year of the two-year cycle, so that means one thing: reclassification for the next cycle can’t be far behind.
This month, schools across Colorado are submitting enrollment numbers to the Colorado Department of Education. Classification of the 343 member schools is based upon the CDE Student Membership Count, dividing those schools into classes 1A to 5A.
With one fewer high school in Colorado Springs following last spring’s closure of Wasson, most of the other four in District 11 – Coronado, Doherty, Mitchell and Palmer – have seen increases in enrollment as a result. While Doherty and Palmer already have 5A enrollments, it appears as if Coronado will move back up to 5A (4A for football) when the Classification and League Organizing Committee convenes Nov. 12 to give final approval on leagues and classifications.
That’s big news for the west-side school, which moved down to 4A before the 2010-11 season after many years as a 5A member. Its wrestling team received an exemption to play up to 5A, where it claimed the state title in 2011. Meanwhile, the Cougars’ football team petitioned to play down to 3A in order to rebuild a then-moribund program that endured back-to-back winless seasons in 2008-09 as a member of the 4A Pikes Peak League.
Now, where might Coronado’s football team end up in 4A by next season? Between the eight-team Pikes Peak League and eight-team Foothills League, the likely departure of Canon City back to 3A in football might make for a convenient flip-flop to put the Cougars in the Foothills. That would certainly foster a few geographic rivalries with Cheyenne Mountain, Mesa Ridge and Widefield.
“The fact that we were able to play down for a cycle for football helped us rebuild a program,” Cougars athletic director David Howard said. “The purpose of that rule is to give programs a chance to thrive. Now, we have a chance to do something, and we’ll be prepared to play at the 4A level.”
Speaking of 4A, preliminary enrollment numbers at The Classical Academy indicate that the charter school will move up to 4A (remaining 3A in football) for the next cycle. Its cross country teams played up to 4A prior to the 2012-13 season, but the move for the entire school would require a league change, most likely to the 4A Colorado Springs Metro League.
With TCA presumably leaving the 3A Tri-Peaks, it appears that The Vanguard School would take the Titans’ place, moving up from the 2A Black Forest League.
Other schools in the news, according to a document published by the Colorado High School Activities Association on Thursday, indicate that Palmer has requested a playdown to 4A in football, with Air Academy reportedly on the record to request a playdown to 3A football.
According to the CHSAA bylaws, “a school may apply to the CLOC to play down one classification in team sports and qualify for the playoffs, if the sport has had a combined varsity winning percentage of less than .250 for the previous four seasons.”
In one scenario, Palmer could replace Air Academy in the 4A Pikes Peak League, while the Kadets could conceivably be part of a 3A football league that includes neighbors Lewis-Palmer, TCA and Discovery Canyon.
Interesting times certainly lay ahead for several schools as the anticipation builds.
- Kevin Carmody