Woodland Park is one of 24 Class 4A and 5A high schools in the Pikes Peak region that will be affected by the new league realignment beginning in the fall of 2020.
The Colorado Springs Metro League will expand from nine to 13 schools and will be split up into North and South divisions. The new league format will be in place for two years (2020-21 and 2021-22).
The four new schools coming to the CS Metro League are Palmer and Coronado from the 4A/5A CS Metro League, and Falcon and Sand Creek from the 4A/5A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference.
“It should be a lot of fun,” said Woodland Park Athletic Director Joe Roskam. “It will help us in some areas, and probably be tough on us in other areas.”
Woodland Park will be in the CS Metro South division with Palmer, Mesa Ridge, Coronado, Harrison, Widefield and Cañon City.
The CS Metro North division will consist of The Classical Academy, Sierra, Mitchell, Falcon, Sand Creek and Elizabeth.
Roskam said Woodland Park petitioned CHSAA to play down to 3A in boys and girls basketball for the postseason.
“CHSAA granted the request,” Roskam said. “That’s somewhere we can compete better.”
The restructured CS Metro League is a direct result of working with the 4A/5A CS Metro League and 4A/5A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference.
Roskam said he worked closely with athletic directors from all over the Pikes Peak region to make the necessary changes.
The sports affected by the new league realignment will be boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball.
The other 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.
For example, Woodland Park will be 3A in boys and girls cross country, boys and girls track, girls swimming and wrestling. It will remain 4A in boys’ golf. There is just one classification for ice hockey, though there is talk of splitting ice hockey into 4A and 5A.
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 CSMOL — 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.”
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 discussion. 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.”