The Colorado High School Activities Association voted Thursday to approve a proposal that will even out the wrestling classifications for next season, giving Moffat County High School wrestlers more competitors to contend with in next year’s regional tournament.
The proposal was brought to the council by the Intermountain, Northern and Colorado Springs Metro 4A and 5A leagues, with help from CHSAA’s wrestling committee and sought to make the classifications more balanced. Following the same enrollment cutoff numbers to separate classifications used in basketball and most other sports, the 4A league was significantly larger than 3A this year and the difference in members would have grown.
Under the former enrollment numbers, 71 schools would have had wrestling teams in 4A for the upcoming 2014-2016 cycle while 3A would’ve had 38. CHSAA realigns schools based on their enrollments every two seasons.
The new enrollment cutoff will place 61 schools in 2A and 53 each in 3A and 4A. Moffat County coach Tanner Linsacum believes it is the right change to make.
“I had two main reactions when I heard about it. One is this is what should be done,” Linsacum said. “I don’t see the point in a super-small 3A and then overblown 4A. (Wrestling) should be balanced on its own numbers, not another sport’s. Two, it will only make 3A a more respected division.”
With the new 3A cutoff set at schools with 276 to 780 students, several teams in the 4A Western region would start battling Moffat County in 3A, with Steamboat Springs among them. The two schools hold a dual match each year anyway but would potentially have wrestlers competing at the regional and state meets now.
“The change is only in the sense that we may see them at state or regional,” Linsacum said. “Whether it’s 2A, 3A, 4A, we’re developing a rivalry with the schools in Northwest Colorado anyway. This isn’t going to change that. It’s just now, our matches during the regular season could have some ramifications later on.”
The proposal was formed by leagues further east but will have a significant effect on the wrestling landscape on the Western Slope. Along with Steamboat, Battle Mountain, Delta, Eagle Valley, Erie, Rifle and Summit were all under 780 students in the most recent count from the 4A Western region. For the 2014-15 season, all those schools will be in 3A, although it’s not clear yet whether they will all stay in the Western region.
That would likely add several wrestlers to the pool in each weight class in Moffat County’s regional, putting more bodies and talent between the Bulldogs and the state meet. But Linsacum believes it is a challenge the Bulldogs should embrace.
“I love competition. I know it makes it tougher on the schools trying to rebuild like we are,” he said. “But it doesn’t scare me. We see Rifle, we see Delta and Eagle Valley throughout the year. Plus, we’ll still be one of the bigger schools in the division anyway.”
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports .