As with the fall high school sports season — which stayed afloat despite blowback from the pandemic that resulted in forfeited games and postseason runs — the second grouping of athletics in Colorado appears to be on the same course.
Whereas before, the one-game-at-a-time mentality seemed like coach’s speak at its predictable best, talks of that now feel more like a warning. Plans are made to be broken when not even the getaway of sports can escape this microscopic assault.
This past week, programs across the state announced the effective end to their seasons due to exposure to the coronavirus. With the postseason ramping up over the next week, a positive test is a cut-rope, curtain fall by way of the state’s mandated 14-day quarantine period.
Those left would be inclined to proceed with caution. It’s simply a matter of whether a fitting end can come before an unpredictable one.
Here’s where everything stands: The regular season in basketball ends Saturday as the shrunken postseason tournament gets started the following week.
Girls swimming has its conference championships this week, and the state meets the next.
Wrestling has regionals this weekend followed by the reworked state tournament in Pueblo March 12-13.
Hockey, meanwhile, is expected to release its postseason bracket March 12. Skiing has its Nordic championships Saturday in Breckenridge. Alpine championships are listed for March 11-12. Spirit finals are expected to run March 25-27 in Colorado Springs.
Most area wrestlers will be in Loveland next weekend at the 4A Region 3 tournament. It includes Erie, which touts returning state champ Rudy Lopez, as well as Broomfield, Skyline, Mead, Niwot, Frederick, Silver Creek and Longmont.
Monarch and three-time champ Vince Cornella are in 5A Region 4, which will be held at Brighton. The Coyotes finished the week ranked third in 5A by Tim Yount’s On The Mat. Legacy is scheduled to be in that region, too.
Fairview and Centaurus are in 5A Region 3 at Doherty in Colorado Springs. Lyons is in 2A Region 1 at Meeker and Holy Family is in 3A Region 3 at Bennett.
Among the top seeds in their classification weight class per OTM are Lyons’ two-time gold medalist Oran Huff (2A 132s), as well as Lopez (4A 138s) and Cornella (5A 138s).
Girls wrestling has two regionals, one at Fort Lupton and the other at Coronado in Colorado Springs. Mead and Legacy had teams in the sport’s inaugural season.
Wrestling takes on a straight-to-the-point bracket approach with only two wrestlers in each of the weights qualifying for Pueblo’s state tournaments.
Basketball RPI standings
League winners will automatically qualify for the postseason — i.e., the Fairview boys, which is in the driver’s seat to win a fourth straight Front Range League title with a week remaining in the regular season.
Those who don’t win league — like all the staunch boys’ programs in the Northern Colorado Athletic Conference who look like deep postseason teams — will have to rely on an at-large bid decided upon by the CHSAA seeding index.
In 5A and 4A, league winners and these bids will compose a 32-team field — 16 less than the previous season. The lower classifications will have 24.
RPI standings — an integral part of the seeding index — will go a long way in deciding who’s in and out.
As of Saturday morning, Fairview is ranked seventh in 5A boys RPI, Silver Creek is 12th in its first season in the biggest classification, and Monarch is on the bubble at 30th.
In 4A, Longmont is fifth, Mead seventh, Erie ninth, Holy Family 15th, Centaurus 16th and Frederick 24th.
Lyons is 24th in 2A, Longmont Christian is 28th in 1A. No boys teams are ranked inside the top 30 in 3A.
In girls, Monarch is the only 5A team inside the top 30, sitting in 10th. Holy Family is fourth in 4A, followed by Erie in 18th, Mead 19th and Centaurus 25th.
Down from that, Peak to Peak is ninth in 3A, while Dawson School is 21st and Lyons is 27th in 2A. Shining Mountain is fifth in 1A and Longmont Christian is 22nd.
The swimming state tournaments allow 20 swimmers per event based on the fastest times during the season.
For someone like Niwot’s Mary Codevilla, who can contend in any of the 11 swim events, she can still only qualify in four events, with a max on two individual events. Meaning, whichever races the Notre Dame commit chooses not to compete in at the tournament, the next fastest girl will get let in.
“The girls, if they’re not getting into one event, are trying in another event,” Silver Creek coach Debbie Stewart said this past week. “But you don’t have a long enough season to play around with that.”
Conference championships this week will be the last chance to qualify.
“Anybody can drop time and go real fast one day and jump somebody,” Erie coach Doug Simkins said. “It’s tricky to know.”
As of the latest rankings on PrepSwimCo.com, Fairview is favored to win a third straight title in 5A. Morgan Lukinac has the second-fastest time in the 50 and 100 freestyle. Edith Simecek and Jenna Reznicek are two-three in the 100 butterfly. Julianne Jones is second in the 200 IM, Karolina Bank is second in the 100 breaststroke and each of the Knights’ three relays have the best time in the class.
In 4A, Codevilla has the top time in the 200 and 500 freestyle — both events she won at state a year ago. She’s also second in the 200 IM, which she won gold as a freshman, and is second in the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle.
The junior has top-five times in all eight of the individual swimming events. The Cougars as a whole are ranked second to Heritage in the team race.
Holy Family, meanwhile, is ranked No. 2 to Glenwood Springs in 3A. Mary Kate Cavanaugh leads the diving field, Cate Chapman is second in the 100 freestyle and butterfly, and Abigail Philipsen is second in the 100 backstroke.