Who could blame a kid for not wanting to participate in high school sports this past season?
With all the restrictions, all the mandates and all the sheer over-the-top burdens students across the state had to deal with, one wonders if playing prep sports was even enjoyable in the 2020-21 school year.
Then, you look back at the moments when all those things were overcome and individuals or teams found success — and therein is found the normal. The joy of seeing teammates hug, high-five or fist-bump after a big play. The prideful smile of a coach whose team played it exactly like it was drawn up. The acknowledgment from anyone — anyone at all — in the stands when winning moments occurred.
Through it all, that’s why we still watched and supported everyone involved. For Holy Family athletic director Ben Peterson, that his student-athletes and coaches overcame so much to capture a second consecutive BoCoPreps.com Cup, and a fourth Cup overall for the school (2013, 2014, 2019, 2021) was remarkable.
“When our leadership team came together last June, we kind of came up with a plan, and everybody from our principal Matt (Hauptly) to our assistant principal Mike Gabriel, and everyone who ran the different pieces of our ship, we were able to stay in school every single day that we were supposed to be in last year, we played all the games that were within our control,” Peterson said upon learning his school had won the competition that is modeled off the NCAA Directors Cup, where team sports are rewarded for postseason appearances and deeper playoff runs. “I asked coaches to do things last year I never thought I would have had to ask them to do. And they did it, and they did it well.
“We brought in strength and conditioning last year, outside, masked, in full heat, in the sun, and kids showed up. We’re still the second- or third-smallest school in (Class) 4A. And so we need kids to do two and three sports and need everyone to have a hand if we’re going to have the type of year that we had this last year. The kids buy into that, particularly in strength and conditioning.”
While the spring sports (so dubbed Season D in this four-season arcade) certainly enjoyed fewer restrictions after months of tolerating fan limitations, roster reductions and even mask-wearing during play, Holy Family’s Season A programs set a tone that would end up driving them to victory in the Cup.
As with the 2019 Cup, the Tigers’ Class 4A softball team championship epitomized a high-quality effort. Beating fellow area squad Mead, 9-6, in the title game, Holy Family won its third softball title. However, it was its six postseason appearances among eight offered sports (that includes Season C’s boys soccer and volleyball teams, and, yes, we factored in spirit championships this year!) that put Holy Family in front to stay.
Season B, which didn’t start until the calendar had turned to 2021, featured a final four girls basketball team in Class 4A, a top-four placing in Class 3A swimming, and points awarded in all of its four offered sports.
Another girls team — that being soccer — kicked into gear in Season D and won Class 4A state, another notch in the belt for the Tigers’ rich athletic history in that no other girls soccer team had won a state title for the school until this year. And, of course, another fantastic run for the baseball team to the 4A championship final significantly bumped HFHS’ average.
“To win that trophy means we have good coaches and good kids who work hard,” longtime girls basketball coach Ron Rossi said. “It’s just really exciting to have the athletic excellence at our school. … I also wanted to add, what an amazing job our (athletic directors) did with all the schedule changes and all the adjustments to keep us going. Holy cow, it was definitely a year-round job for them.”
For most schools around the area, it’s either feast or famine in terms of program success. Some schools boast a couple more team championships than the pair the Tigers won in 2020-21, but the points were negated by other teams missing out completely on postseason.
For Holy Family, being able to find enough success to get into postseason brackets or score team points in non-bracket playoff competitions (track, cross country, etc.) has them among the area’s Cup contenders annually. And this year, perhaps more than any others, there’s a lot more pride for what went on for the purple and gold.
“For our seniors especially, they spent two years with our building under construction and then two years with COVID… their four years at Holy Family were anything but normal,” Peterson said. “But they fought through and did what we asked. They were coachable, leadable, and in turn they led the next group of Tigers that are going to come through.”
The Cup was not awarded for the 2019-20 school year because of the cancellation of prep basketball tournaments and the entire spring sports slate. … Though there was a small shakeup in positioning, the top five consisted of the same teams (Holy Family, Niwot, Fairview, Lyons, Broomfield) as it was in 2018-19. …. Spirit was added, as points were given to a school’s highest finish at the state championships among the different disciplines (sideline, cheer, jazz, hip-hop, etc.). Erie actually won two spirit team titles (only one could count toward the Cup), and the Tigers’ 100 points helped them go from eighth in 2019 to sixth in 2021. … On the strength of Mead’s boys basketball title and runner-up finishes from softball and volleyball, the Mavericks leapt from 15th to seventh place. … Niwot had the most state championships (five) and top-three finishes (nine) but finished second while scoring points in only 13 of 20 offered sports. … Fairview netted five top-three program finishes in finishing third.
BoCoPreps.com Cup Top 10 standings
1. Holy Family 54.30 points
2. Niwot 49.80 points
3. Fairview 46.05 points
4. Lyons 44.83 points
5. Broomfield 44.29 points
6. Erie 34.20 points
7. Mead 32.79 points
8. Jefferson Academy 32.66 points
9. Legacy 25.02 points
10. Dawson 24.85 points
How is the Cup calculated?
Modeled after the NCAA Directors Cup, points are awarded directly for placement in team championship competitions, with 100 points going to a champion, 90 points going to second place, and from there a varying amount of points depending on how many teams are eligible for a given postseason in a given sport. The points are tallied through the entire year and then divided by the total number of sports in which each school participates.