Although 2015 isn't officially in our rearview mirror yet, it isn't too early to take a look ahead at what the next 12 months may hold on the local prep scene.
There's big changes coming on the high school scene as the CHSAA has proposed that all team sports will eventually move away from a Wild Card points system to one where an RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) formula will be used to determine qualifiers for the playoffs. If approved by the Legislative Council in January, baseball could become the first to use it as early as the 2016 spring season.
Other changes include the much-discussed realignments proposed in football that would do away with regional conferences in 5A to leagues that are determined by a waterfall system that ranks teams based on their two-year average RPI from 2014 and 2015.
Earlier in December the football committee also recommended that 5A move to a 16-team playoff format, similar to what the other classifications already use.
All of these changes need to be approved by the Legislative Council, but it appears that there is enough support to see them adopted.
Locally, a couple of things to keep an eye on include whether or not the great senior class at Longmont High School will be able to capture a team championship before graduating next spring.
The Trojans have come close over the last few years, with both the boys basketball team and the football team reaching the state championship game last year before settling for runner-up finishes.
The football team and the boys soccer squad made decent runs at a title this past fall but came up short. Currently, both the boys and girls basketball teams have legitimate shots to win it all as the boys are ranked No. 1 and the girls are ranked fourth.
Almost everyone I've talked to agrees that there is something special about the group of seniors at Longmont this year, and they have already produced numerous highlights that will be talked about for years to come.
It would be nice for them to add a gold ball to the trophy case to top off their time at the school.
Also this winter season, Legacy appears to have a roster that could make a run at capturing the 5A wrestling title and several individual grapplers could walk off the mat with a title in tow, including the Lightnings' Ryan Deakin, Tommy Stager of Niwot, Forrest Lalaguna of Centaurus, Jack Gallegos of Mead and Kolsen Welham of Holy Family.
And we'll also find out if this is the year the Monarch hockey team, which features players from all over the BoCoPreps area, finally breaks through to capture a championship after three consecutive runner-up finishes. So far it looks pretty promising for the Coyotes.
There will be plenty of local athletes competing for high state finishes in track and field this spring, and a lot of eyes will be on Lyons senior Paul Roberts, who will be wrapping up one of the most remarkable running careers the state has ever seen.
Roberts already cemented his place in Colorado lore this past fall when he became the first four-time boys cross country state champion, and next spring he will have a chance to further his legend.
Last spring Roberts won the 1,600 title in 4 minutes, 21.78 seconds, the 3,200 title in 9:38.84, and led the Lyons 3,200-meter relay team to a third place finish, all the while helping the Lions to their fourth team title in five years.
News and notes
• Members of the Boulder High School football team were invited to watch the Denver Broncos practice last Saturday in recognition of the Panthers work in the community. Boulder players met with Broncos players after the practice and then were featured on ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast as part of the Monday Night Lights feature.
The Panthers were recognized for the team's community service helping homeless in the community.
• The Boulder boys basketball program will be celebrating its 4th annual alumni night Tuesday, Jan. 5. Festivities start at 5:15 p.m. in "Heaven" above the PIT. The Boulder girls play at 5:30 p.m. and the boys tip off at 7 p.m.
All Boulder hoops alumni are invited and legendary coach Kent Smith, who was just named to the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, is scheduled to be at the event. More info: contact coach Jack Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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