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We're playing and the plan is out!

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Four sports seasons to happen in 2020-21, with football beginning in February and basketball in January, but the Colorado consensus is relief and joy for competition to resume.
 
AURORA – And now for something completely different …

In the face of the worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Colorado high-school sports in 2020-21 will be on a modified schedule that will include four sports seasons as opposed to three and various sports switching from traditional periods.

"The health and safety of our student participants, coaches, officials and essential personnel, including volunteers, is a primary concern for the return of interscholastic athletics and activities," Rhonda Blanford-Green, CHSAA commissioner, said on Tuesday afternoon. "We are very grateful for the state, health and educational leaders for their shared commitment of a return to these highly beneficial education programs when it is deemed safe for all school communities."

While boys golf began fall preseason practice on Monday and boys tennis and softball were due to open on Monday, Aug. 10, the remaining fall sports as well as those in winter and spring also faced questions.

But something is better than nothing, new Mullen athletic director Damian Brown said, particularly for student-athletes who had their opportunities taken away, regular seasons and playoffs canceled, championship games forgotten, and bonding and growing with teammates and coaches removed.

“I think it’s great that they came out with something and I do think it gives kids an opportunity to participate in sports, which we all want,” he said.

In working with several groups, including Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, the state’s COVID-19 Response Team and the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, state officials have released their plan that includes only four fall sports and the likes of football beginning on March 1 and basketball opening Jan. 4.

“At least we know where we’re at,” new Mullen football head coach Jeremy Bennett said. “It’s not ideal for every kid, but we’re not canceling the season and it could be worse.

“So we have to try and make the best of it and we have to help and support our kids.”

Said Mullen principal Jeff Howard: "We are very happy that all of our student-athletes will have an opportunity to participate this year and grateful to (the) CHSAA for their hard work creating this schedule. While we all wish sports and activities could go on as normal, this plan allows our students to compete! We are very pleased about that!"

To this point, the seasons have been designated as A, B, C and D.

Season A, in addition to boys golf, boys tennis and softball, will be joined by cross country.

Season B, which will open on Jan. 4 and run through March 6, will involve basketball, ice hockey, skiing, spirit, girls swimming and wrestling.

Season C, March 1 through May 1, will have the traditional fall sports of field hockey, football, gymnastics, boys soccer, unified bowling and girls volleyball.

Season D, April 26-June 26, will have baseball, girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, girls tennis, boys swimming, boys and girls track and field, and boys volleyball.

And many in-state sports may be contested while student-athletes are under remote learning.

Following is a general calendar that undoubtedly will be modified as the school year happens and updated with additional dates and sites as well as modifications, requirements and procedures:

Season A

Boys golf – Practice began Aug. 3; first competition Aug. 15; championship Oct. 17; 7 contests in the regular season.

Boys tennis – Practice begins Aug. 10; first competition Aug. 13; championship Sept. 25-26, TBD matches.

Softball -- Practice begins Aug. 10; first competition Aug. 13; championship Oct. 10; 16 regular-season games.

Cross country -- Practice begins Aug. 12; first competition Aug. 15; championship Oct. 10.

Season B

Boys and girls basketball -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship March 6; 13-16 games.

Ice hockey -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship TBA; 13 games.

Boys and girls skiing -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship Feb. 26.

Spirit -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship TBD.

Girls swimming and diving -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship TBD; 7 plus league.

Wrestling -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship March 6; 7 duals.

Season C

Football -- Practice begins Feb. 26; first competition March 4; championship May 8; 7 games.

Field hockey -- Practice begins March 1; first competition March 4; championship TBD; 10 games.

Gymnastics -- Practice begins March 1; first competition March 4; championship TBD; 8 meets.

Boys soccer -- Practice begins March 1; first competition March 4; championship TBD; 10 games.

Unified bowling -- Practice begins March 1; first competition March 4; championship TBD; 6 matches.

Girls volleyball – Practice begins March 1; first competition March 4; championship May 1; 16 matches.

Season D

Baseball -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship June 26; 13-16 games.

Girls golf -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship TBD; 198 holes.

Boys and girls lacrosse -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship boys TBD, girls June 23; 10 games.

Girls soccer -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship TBD; 10 games.

Boys swimming and diving -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship TBD; 7 meets plus league..
 
Girls tennis -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship June 11-12; TBD.’

Boys and girls track and field -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship TBD; 8 meets.

Boys volleyball -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship June 19; 16 matches.

The Speech festival will begin on. Oct. 1 and conclude on Jan. 30. And the Speech Tournament will be Nov. 1 and end March 20.

“We have to find the good in all of this,” Bennett said.

Said Brown: “I think it will be exciting, also challenging, but if everybody works together it will be fine.”

If any in the Mustang community have questions, Brown said to contact him through the school.

“We’re going to play,” he said, “and that’s what everyone wants.”
 
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