Berthoud High sports to move to Class 3A following CHSAA changes
By Don Cameron
The Berthoud High School sports landscape is changing, with new rivalries and perhaps more realistic championship dreams, thanks to the Colorado High School Activities Association’s conference realignment.
At the Jan. 28 CHSAA Board of Control meeting, CHSAA approved Berthoud’s move from the Class 4A Northern Conference to the Class 3A Patriot League. Berthoud has been playing in the Class 3A Tri-Valley Conference in football only, with other sports competing in 4A, often against schools with much larger enrollment.
“We’re very pleased with how smooth realignment went,” CHSAA Assistant Commissioner Bert Borgmann said. “There were an awful lot of decisions made by the classification league and organization committee and it went very smoothly.”
Berthoud will be the only newcomer to the Patriot League, which includes Brush, Eaton, Estes Park, Highland, Lyons, Platte Valley, Strasburg, University, Valley and Weld Central.
“Competitive balance is not necessarily the issue,” Borgmann said. “Some schools in every classification will stay competitive and some will still be building their programs. What [realignment] has to do is get like-size schools playing each other and keeping them somewhat geographically aligned.”
Former Patriot League member Erie will be moving to 4A competition.
“What’s neat when you change conference and leagues is you have the opportunity to develop new rivalries,” Borgmann said.
Berthoud boys basketball coach Pete Scheck said the school is excited about the change but won’t look at it as a step down in competitiveness or motivation.
“We don’t want it to be something the kids look at and say, ‘Now we can take our foot off the gas pedal.’ We want to continue to work hard and raise our expectations,” Scheck said. “[At 3A] we should be able to compete for league championships and maybe even state championships. We don’t want to temper our expectations, we want to raise our expectations.”
A few other CHSAA meeting highlights:
• CHSAA passed a measure requiring athletes who transfer for athletic reasons to sit out for a full calendar year. Under the old system, athletes who switched schools had to sit out 50 percent of the season. That measure was passed 49-18.
• CHSAA passed a measure requiring athletes who follow a club team coach to a new school to sit out for a full calendar year. That measure was passed 55-12.
• Coaches will be allowed to have contact with current players on Sundays, as long as it is not connected to coaching.
• If a student-athlete is removed from a game or practice due to head trauma, the student-athlete must obtain a written release from a licensed practitioner before returning to practice.
• Paul Angelico, an associate commissioner for the past eight years, will become the new CHSAA commissioner effective July 1, replacing Bill Reader, who will retire at the end of the school year.
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