At the state track meet Steamboat Pilot & Today writer John Russell and I watched as Mullen ran away with both the boys and girls titles. It's nothing new, the Mullen girls have now won seven straight and the boys have won eight of the last 10.
We started to talk about how many more students attend the other schools in Class 4A. There are Liberty (1,376)*, Pueblo Centennial (1,268) or Broomfield (1,340). We may have even said something abo ut it being unfair for the smaller schools on the Western Slope.
I've only worked at the Craig Daily Press for one school year, but it seems this is a topic of conversation with Western Slope coaches and sports writers every time a state playoff rolls around.
But I guess all is fair in love, war and high school sports. We just have to accept that every year we're going to watch as schools from the Slope get routinely kicked out of the state playoffs by schools twice their size like Greeley West (SSHS boys soccer), Longmont (MCHS girls basketball and SSHS girls soccer) and Pueblo County (MCHS football).
I'm not going to sit here and cry about how odd it is that Mullen's guys and girls can be placed in different classes in the same sports (in basketball the girls are 4A and the boys 5A) or how recruiting seems to run rampant throughout the front range. Nope no tears here, just a solution.
Now at first this might not go over well, especially since hearing the malicious chants at the MCHS/Steamboat basketball games. There isn't much love lost between the two rivals.
But can't we all just get along?
The solution to the one-and-done appearances in the state playoffs that happened a combined 10 times this year for SSHS and MCHS is ... Yampa Valley High School.
A combination of the youth from Steamboat (675) and Craig (835) into one high school would still qualify for Class 4A. At 1,510 it would be the second largest school in the class behind Longmont (1555) according to the Colorado High School Activities Association's latest numbers.
Think about the dynasties that could be created. This school year every sport that Steamboat and Moffat County shared had at least one of the teams make it to the post season. The schools combined for three second-place finishes (SSHS boys golf, volleyball and MCHS girls cross country) and one state championship (MCHS wrestling).
The imagination can find endless possibilities of combinations the joint venture would create. Condsider track state champions -- MCHS's Laurel Mortensen (in the 800), and Steamboat's Jessica Peters (in the 400) -- running together on the same 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams. How about a combination of the football teams? Yampa Valley High would have smoked state runner-up Palisade this year. Maybe the three teams that finished second could have found that one ingredient they needed for the state title from the other school.
The success of the ... what could be a mascot -- Flying Pigs (since this will actually happen when, well you know, pigs fly) -- would be so great that even the Rocky Mountain News would have to write an article every once in a while. Maybe News4's Marcia Neville would finally make the trip out to Northwest Colorado that she has promised the MCHS wrestling team the last couple of years.
Then the Adams Citys (1,425) and the Skylines (1,430) of the Front Range would be the ones complaining.
Maybe some would argue that the size of the school doesn't matter. Well let's take a look at the "major sports" champion enrollment sizes for 4A this year. Football, Florence, 591; volleyball, Lewis Palmer, 1,530; boys basketball, Ralston Valley, 1,250; girls basketball, Ranum, 1,422; boys baseball, Golden, 1,305. All but one school had more than 1,200 students and that's in football where there are more divisions to keep school sizes closer.
Like I said, I'm not here to cry about it, I just think in all fairness that Steamboat and Moffat County deserve recognition for what they're up against.
I'll be the first in line to buy a YVHS hat. Although I'm not sure how well the different cultures would work in one high school, state titles might just help them forget about the perceptions of ski bum vs. cowboy.
All I say is giddap all the way down Mt. Werner with state trophies weighing the sleigh down.
Go Flying Pigs!
- All enrollment numbers were from the CHSAA '02-'03 directory