DENVER (KDVR) — Optimism is high this year for Colorado’s high school athletes after they faced a year of unprecedented challenges, both on and off the field.
The Colorado High School Activities Association said athletics managed some accomplishments during the 2020-21 school year, keeping them hopeful for another success this year.
“Last year, even though there were a lot of challenges, we completed every single sport every single activity with a culmination championship,” CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said.
While activities and sports will go on in a more normal fashion, students can still expect some COVID-related rules.
“These are going to be local decisions. There’s an encouragement for the local public health departments to work directly with our school administrators,” Blanford-Green said.
Fall football season on track, even amid delta surge
At Denver Public Schools, the new rules are already in play on the North High School football field.
“We want to make sure we are following those guidelines and we are doing those to a T,” said CJ Hanna, head football coach. “I think it’s important to get back to some normalcy, not just physically, but also mentally.”
Last year, CHSAA divided sports into four shorter seasons instead of three as part of its COVID safety plan. It meant Friday night lights across most of Colorado didn’t turn on until spring.
So far, football season is on track for a regular fall kickoff with 10 games.
“We want to make sure they are having the experience that high school sports and athletics are meant for,” Hanna said.
For Hanna’s team, masks won’t be required on the field. Students can once again spend time in the weight room, hang out in the locker rooms and watch and film together as a team.
For senior Eythan Trujillo, that’s a big deal after last year.
“It was definitely hard, because we weren’t able to come together as a team,” Trujillo said.
Both Trujillo and his coach said they plan to be agile throughout the season, with the potential for new restrictions amid the spread of the delta variant.
“If something does happen, we’ll be prepared,” Trujillo said.
“We’ve got to do things to keep everyone safe,” Hanna said.