CHSAA legislative council makes changes to girls lacrosse, wrestling and Sunday contact rule
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Colorado High School Activities Association legislative session approved a second classification for girls lacrosse due to the growing number of teams.
A proposal, put forth by the Western Slope and Pikes Peak leagues, to have two classifications of girls lacrosse was passed by CHSAA, which means teams will now be split into either Class 5A or 4A starting with the 2021 spring season.
Girls lacrosse is in the midst of its 22nd year as a high school sport, and there are currently 57 high school girls lacrosse teams in the state of Colorado, all of which are currently under one classification. Boys lacrosse split into two classifications in 2013.
According to Steamboat Springs High School athletic director Luke DeWolfe, who sits on the CHSAA board as a district one representative, the decision of how to split the teams will be decided by a girls lacrosse committee.
Currently, the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team is in Class 4A, the smaller of the two boys classifications. The state of Colorado has 78 high school boys lacrosse teams between the two classifications and is in its 21st year under CHSAA.
“I think it’s going to benefit lacrosse in Colorado in general,” Steamboat’s girls lacrosse head coach Amy Norris said. “Hopefully, it gives programs like ours that are still growing and developing a positive outlook. It could be beneficial for us to possibly make playoffs moving forward.”
Norris also believes having two classifications provides opportunity for a more diversified schedule.
The legislative council also approved girls wrestling, along with unified bowling and boys volleyball, to officially become a CHSAA-sanctioned sport.
Girls wrestling is in the midst of a two-year pilot program. This year, there were 10 girls-only wrestling tournaments, and that number doesn’t include the Region 1 Colorado High School Regional Tournament in Mead and Colorado Girls High School Wrestling Championships at Thornton High School.
Steamboat’s own Adalia George elected to attend the regional tournament and earned a berth to the championships in Thornton, where she lost both matches. George elected to compete in the girls pilot-year postseason instead of the boys.
There were 12 girls in the state who chose to compete in the boys’ postseason, and Valley High School’s Angel Rios and Skyview High School’s Jaslynn Gallegos made history by becoming the first girls to place at the boys state competition.
There were 300 girls from 114 high schools registered to compete in wrestling in Colorado this year.
Under the new legislation, if the school a girl competitor attends does not have a girls wrestling program, she can compete for a nearby school who does or choose to compete with the boys. Adding girls wrestling to Steamboat would need board approval like any other sport at the high school.
“We have another year to make some decisions and look at it,” DeWolfe said. “Having gone through the pilot program and knowing we have another year gives us time to determine what is the feasibility of girls wrestling. We are definitely interested, and our school district has been in favor in creating opportunities for kids.”
There were three parts to the Sunday contact rule proposed to CHSAA.
First, schools can now petition to play on Sundays, especially if there is a religious exemption not allowing them to play on Saturdays. Second, activities like music or theatre can now also occur on Sundays.
The third piece of Sunday contact proposed opening up “contact” between high school coaches and players outside of the regular season. Contact is defined by practice, training sessions or competition.
The idea came from club sports, which already hosts competitions on Sundays. Under the proposed legislation, a high school team would be able to play on a Sunday under its high school coach.
“That would’ve had some substantial implications for coaches and just programs in general across the state,” DeWolfe said. “That was one of the biggest ones in terms of discussions we had as athletic directors.”
Those in favor of Sunday contact believed it would allow high school coaches to continue to lead their teams during the offseason. Some high school coaches are already involved in club sports teams their regular season athletes compete for. The thought was if the coaches are already in contact in some form during the offseason, why not make it an official high school coaching experience?
“There was also a feeling that it would be more beneficial to have high school coaches coach kids outside of the season, instead of those kids being involved in club sport by an outside group who isn’t as concerned with the implications of educationally-based athletics,” DeWolfe said.
The legislation lost by a narrow margin. Sunday is a religious day for some communities, and others felt Sundays should be a day off for kids and families. If Sunday contact was allowed, athletes might feel pressure to participate.
“Two different viewpoints depending on where you live and the role of club sports in your community,” DeWolfe said. “It also depends on the dynamic of your community. Do they feel like Sunday should be left alone and be with families or is it something else?”
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