Many Cheyenne Mountain High School athletic teams will be affected by the new league realignment that will begin the fall of 2020.
The 24 largest high schools in the Pikes Peak region, Cheyenne Mountain among them, have combined for an athletics league realignment plan that will grow the Class 4A/5A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference, eliminate the 4A/5A Colorado Springs Metro League, and expand the existing 4A Colorado Springs Metro League.
“For Cheyenne Mountain, this makes lot of sense,” said Cheyenne Mountain Athletic Director Kris Roberts. “It makes for good league matchups, many of which we already have with the (4A/5A) CSML.”
The Class 4A/5A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference is absorbing four schools from the 4A/5A CSML. Two current PPAC schools — Falcon and Sand Creek — are headed to the revamped 4A CSML
The newly revamped PPAC will grow from eight to 11 schools. Remaining in the league will be Cheyenne Mountain, Palmer Ridge, Lewis-Palmer, Discovery Canyon, Air Academy and Vista Ridge. Five 5A CSML schools are joining the league — Liberty, Rampart Pine Creek, Doherty and Fountain-Fort Carson.
“This will make our league a stronger and more difficult league,” Roberts said. “That’s something we like. Year-in and year-out we are able to field competitive teams across the board.”
Roberts pointed to last spring when the Cheyenne Mountain girls’ soccer team began the season 1-5, yet ended up winning the 4A state championship as a No. 21 seed.
“The PPAC prepared our girls for tough competition,” he said. “And they got hot at the right time.”
The 11-school PPAC will be in place for a two-year period beginning in the fall of 2020 (2020-21 and 2021-22).
“We believe the competitive balance is a good thing for all the schools involved,” said Palmer Ridge Athletic Director Lance McCorkle. “We wanted to make sure we had a strong (PPAC) and we wanted to make sure the rest of the schools were in a league (CSML) that made sense for them.”
The sports affected by the new league realignment will be boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball.
The other CHSAA sports, including football, will continue to compete in a mix of leagues that involve PPAC schools, CSML schools, and other schools from the Pikes Peak region and state. The classification of those sports will range from 3A to 5A.
The new PPAC basketball schedule, for example, means that every school will play a league opponent once for a total of 10 games. An end of the season tournament will add two more games to the schedule. Each school will play 11 non-league games for a grand total of 23.
In soccer there are 15 regular-season games. The new format means there will be 10 leagues games for each school and five non-league games.
The baseball schedule will involve every school playing each other twice for a total of 20 games, while added three non-league games for a total of 23.
Softball will have each school playing each other once, while adding 13 non-league opponents for a total of 23 games.
Pine Creek Athletic Director Eric Hulen was a driving force behind the new league realignments. He and the other athletic directors wanted to make sure that the two teams that were leaving the 4A/5A CSML — Palmer and Coronado — went into a league that made sense. The 4A CSML provided that landing spot.
“I’ve been involved in high school sports in Colorado Springs for 25 years and I’ve seen a lot of changes,” Hulen said. “This isn’t the first time we’ve reorganized leagues, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. We have good leadership within our group and in the end I think everybody is happy with the way things worked out.”
The new 4A CSML will grow from nine to 13 school and be divided into two divisions. The seven-school South division will consist of Woodland Park Palmer, Mesa Ridge, Coronado, Harrison, Widefield and Cañon City.
The North divsion will be consist of six schools and include former PPAC members Falcon and Sand Creek, as well as current 4A CSML schools The Classical Academy, Sierra, Mitchell and Elizabeth.
“It should be fun,” said Woodland Park Athletic Director Joe Roskam. “The new league will help us in some areas, and in other areas it will still be tough.”
Many CSML schools, including Woodland Park, have scheduled non-league games with PPAC schools for years. Last month, Woodland Park hosted Discovery Canyon in a volleyball match.
There was an attempt to try and get the six Pueblo schools — primarily Pueblo West — involved in the league realignment. The Pueblo schools elected to remain together in a the same league for at least the next two-year cycle.
“There’s discussion that some of the Pueblo schools may dissolve or combine,” Hulen said. “We will watch and see what happens.”