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Canon City seeks move north to Colorado Springs Metro League, taking Wasson's spot

May 2, 2013

Canon City High School has made a proposal to leave its longtime South Central League home and join the 4A Colorado Springs Metro League.

Presenting before the Classification and League Organizing Committee on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Colorado High School Activities Association, the Tigers made their pitch to replace Wasson, which will close later this month, and become the eighth member of the CSML for the 2014-15 school year.

CLOC will vote on the decision at its formal meeting in November.

'I think it can be a positive move for everyone, ' said Canon City athletic director Bob Trahern, who is set to retire following this school year after a 27-year career in education. He will hand duties in July to Scott Manchester. 'With Wasson leaving, now's the time to do it. It's an opportunity to even up both leagues without putting a hardship on anyone. '

Canon City's home, the South Central League, would be left with six schools, all from Pueblo - Centennial, Central, County, East, South and West. League athletic directors recently voted 4-3 to block the move and keep the SCL at seven.

'Things are changing, and I would hate to see Ca?n City leave, ' said Pueblo County athletic director Cheri Toussaint, one of the three who approved the Tigers' move. 'I understand rivalries and history. But you don't sacrifice programs because you want to keep a rivalry. You do what's best for the school. Now it's in CHSAA's lap. '

CHSAA assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann didn't interpret the slim disapproving vote by the South Central League as a major stumbling block for the future CLOC vote.

'That's a little unusual, but we'll see what happens, ' Borgmann said. 'I think in most cases, the committee will look at the positives and negatives for all schools involved. Unless they can come up with something that bothers them on that, and something is totally out of whack, I don't know they'll say no. '

Ca?n City, located 50 miles southwest of Colorado Springs - just 10 miles farther than its opponents in Pueblo - is familiar with most Metro League schools, playing most during nonleague play in most sports.

'We play them anyway, ' Widefield athletic director Shelli Miles said.

'It would be good to have an even number. It can be hard to find games with an odd number. '

The Tigers won state championships in five sports from 1990-2000, most recently 13 years ago in football (3A) and wrestling (4A).

Dave Eichman, the District 11 athletic director and member of the CLOC voting committee, said the Metro League unanimously supported Ca?on City's request to move.

But the SCL's dissenting vote won't make November's decision a slam dunk, either.

'It's pretty easy when both sides support something, ' Eichman said.

'In the end, the committee looks at it and approves or denies it in the best interest for the state. '

Trahern, who spent 23 years at Ca?n City and 11 as the athletic director, looks forward to the pending change.

He recalls several current Metro League schools - including Widefield, Harrison and Sierra - in previous configurations of the South Central League.

'The league has changed a few times since I've been at Ca?n, ' Trahern said. 'I think it's a group of schools we've obviously played quite a bit before and have good relationships with all of them. I don't know if I'd call it a fresh start, but definitely a chance to develop new relationships with different schools. '

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