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CHSAA panel gives green light to three pilot sports

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When spring rolls around, it’s the time that the Colorado High Schools Activities Association Legislative Committee gets together to approve or shoot down possible changes to Colorado high school sports.

Each year I have mixed reactions, ranging from “Why?” to “It’s about time.”

According to CHSAANow.com, the most notable revision to come from the CHSAA Legislative Committee annual meeting on April 24 was the approval of the pilot sports of boys volleyball, girls wrestling and unified bowling to become sanctioned sports for the 2020-21 season.

Boys volleyball will be a spring sport, girls wrestling will compete in the winter and unified bowling will be held during the fall and winter seasons.

The three sports were the first new activities to be sanctioned in more than a decade. Field hockey was approved in 1996 and added in 1997. Girls lacrosse was sanctioned in 1997 and played its first official season in 1998. Boys lacrosse had its first season in 1999 after gaining approval in 1998.

Among the other revisions ruled on by the committee were:

• Girls lacrosse has added a second classification and will split the 58 current teams into 5A and 4A groups. How to divide teams and the enrollment guidelines still need to be determined.

• A fresh approach toward seeding the 5A-1A football playoffs will start next fall with the RPI, MaxPreps rankings, Packard rankings and CHSAANow.com coaches poll equally weighed in one of the chief basics.

• A proposal to create a 6A classification football division was defeated.

• Field hockey will have a different mercy rule for regular-season games. A five-goal differential will create a running clock, a six-goal difference will cause the leading ream to lose a player and a seven-goal differential means the leading team will lose a second player. An eight-goal margin will mean a third player must be removed from the leading team.

• Softball’s mercy rule has been tweaked and the game will end if a team is ahead by 15 runs after three innings, 12 runs after four or 10 runs after five. And, a double bag will be used at first. The white bag will remain in the same place and used by the first baseman during the game. A second orange bag will be directly to the right of the white bag in foul territory and the batter will use it on run-through plays at first base. If the batter touches the white bag on a run-through play, she would be called out.

• Basketball and soccer officials will get more pay. Basketball officials working on a three-person crew will earn $60 per game next season compared to $53, while a soccer center referee will be paid $59 and $54.50 for assistant referees. Travel stipends were increased and football officials had previously been awarded an increase to $61 a game for the 2020-22 cycle.

• Swimmers will be required to compete in a minimum of six meets to qualify for the state championships.

Rolling, rolling, rolling

There was a recent change of head boys basketball coaches at Mountain Vista but there will still be a Wood running the program.

Bob Wood, who compiled a 198-84 overall record as a head coach, which included 11 seasons at Mountain Vista, has stepped down and his 37-year-old son Brian is the new head coach.

“I’m very excited taking over at Mountain Vista,” said Brian Wood. “My dad is going to be my varsity assistant so he’ll be very involved. We had been hoping to do something like this since we started coaching at Mountain Vista 11 years ago.”

Brian Wood, who at one time was the career scoring leader in Colorado and is now second after scoring 2,551 points at Buena Vista playing for Bob Wood, has been a junior varsity coach and assistant for his dad at Vista.

“We plan on continuing to play fast and applying pressure on defense,” said Brian Wood. “Some things will be changed based on personnel but we plan to keep Vista basketball rolling.

Record setter

Senior Max Tennant, a Cherry Creek graduate, has the Ohio Wesleyan and North Coast Athletic Conference career goals record with 249, which is sixth all-time in NCAA Division III history.

Ohio Wesleyan had one more game remaining during the regular season and the NCAC tournament, so more goals could be added to his career records.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton

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