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Winter preps teams disappointed over delay

CHSAA announced Season B will start no earlier than February 1. Teams worry that they'll miss their entire seasons.

DENVER — Only two days after a completed fall season, CHSAA made the inevitable announcement that Season B is postponed from January 4 to at least February 1.

According to a release sent Monday afternoon, CHSAA, CDPHE and Gov. Jared Polis' COVID Response Team, plan to meet again mid-January to continue the discussion around variances for Season B, and reassess COVID-19 data at that time.

RELATED: High school sports pushed back due to coronavirus concerns

The decision did not come as a surprise to many winter sport athletes, but it did hit them hard.

"Definitely just a second wave of disappointment hit," Mullen senior Alexa Dominguez said.

The first wave that hit her was when the Mustangs' season was unexpectedly canceled the night before the state championship game, when they were slated to face Holy Family for a potential repeat title.

While most thought back in March that a season would be probable again by January, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) deems it unsafe at the moment. 

Green Mountain head coach Darren Pitzner disagrees.

"[Gyms are] very different than school. School is in a small classroom. You walk into our gymnasium and they have 30-foot ceilings and a ton of space, and it's a lot closer to an outdoor environment," he said.

Pitzner referred to a study done in Wisconsin that looked at more than 30,000 students in an enclosed environment like a gymnasium. He also referenced the success of club sports throughout the summer.

"90 percent of the 300 families I spoke to are begging for opportunities for their kids to play sports and the CDPHE restrictions are now putting the entire winter sports season in jeopardy," he said. 

But what about the contact? It's not as if you can play defense spread out in different corners of the gymnasium. Well, the players are willing to mask up in order to suit up.

"I think if masks are the only way that we can play, that every player would be willing to wear one correctly over their nose and everything," Green Mountain senior Courtney Hank said.

It's been done at the higher level already. Creighton and DePaul University Women's Basketball teams both wear masks 100 percent of the time on the floor and on the bench. Dominguez said she experimented with that during club basketball and would be willing to take that step for CHSAA.

"All of us are willing to take the precautions and extra rules that they're adding just to get a season, and that also includes not having our parents there to watch us."

Season B is more than just hoops; wrestling, hockey, girls swimming, spirit, and skiing are also all dealing with delays.

Fort Collins goalie Sam Simon, who turned heads in the state hockey championship with his 84 saves, is now shrugging his shoulders.

RELATED: Fort Collins goalie Sam Simon reflects on historic 5OT, 84-save performance

"There's like bigger things going on in the world, right, so I mean, you've got to keep people safe," he said. "I wasn't too surprised. I mean, it's a bummer of course, obviously I want to play, but I understand the reasons for it."

Simon sees it both ways, but Pitzner said he'll keep fighting for the kids' way.

"I hope that our state administrators understand what they're taking away when they say no and when they cancel," Pitzner said. "[The kids have] done everything that we've asked of them and we need to say yes to kids right now."

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