Published: December 7, 2011
Three games into the season and Wasson has decided to forego its girls’ varsity basketball season.
With one senior, two juniors and eight freshmen, there was almost no varsity experience on the team. It showed on the court, where in their first three games, the Thunderbirds were outscored 209-13.
“The biggest reason is we’ve got a young group of girls that don’t have the varsity skill,” athletic director Jared Welch said. “They’re taking the opportunity to play (junior varsity) and C-squad level.”
As far as Welch knew, this was the first time there hadn’t been a varsity girls’ basketball season since the program started.
It wasn’t the first tough decision Welch has made.
When he took over as athletic director in 2010, Welch made coaches for every sport reapply for their jobs. Now, fifth-year coach Arthur Griffin, one of those coaches who reapplied for his job, will be coaching junior varsity.
Griffin said the team was decimated by offseason moves. Several girls were in military families and moved away, and another moved to Alamosa. That left Griffin with three upper class players who had little to no varsity playing time.
“Last year they didn’t get much varsity experience,” Griffin said. “But they realize what’s happening.”
By Colorado High School Activities Association rules, because Wasson no longer has a varsity squad, the players can play at the varsity level at another school. Instead, Welch said the two juniors and the senior will play junior varsity.
“They’re willing to play, but they didn’t want to get beat up like they were getting beat up,” Griffin said. “They want to learn and have a little success.”
The Thunderbirds haven’t qualified for the postseason since 2003-04, when the school was 5A.
A decision on next season’s varsity squad has yet to be made.
“Right now, we’re going to play through the season and reassess it for next year to see where we’re at,” Welch said. “We’re at the point where we’ve got to build some skill in these younger girls.”